More than 230 million people worldwide suffer from Asthma, according to the World Health Organization.
In Europe, Ireland has some of the highest rates, with one in five children experiencing the chronic disease at some point. But a breakthrough at Trinity College Dublin offers new hope in the fight to tackle it. Researchers in the Irish capital have pinpointed the key impact made by the protein, Caspase-11, a discovery which could herald a new era of therapeutic options. The study shows that while Caspase-11 is important in fighting bacteria, it also causes problems when over-active, becoming a major accelerator of inflammatory reactions in the lungs of asthmatics.
“Caspase-11 – or it’s human equivalent, which is Caspase-4 – has never been implicated in asthma before so we think it holds great promise as a possible target for new drugs to treat this common, debilitating disease,” said Luke O’Neill, Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute.
The study was published today in the journal Nature Communications.