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La Jolla Institute identifies new therapeutic target for asthma, COPD and other lung disorders
Date:4/17/2011

SAN DIEGO (April 17, 2011) Michael Croft, Ph.D., a researcher at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, has discovered a molecule's previously unknown role as a major trigger for airway remodeling, which impairs lung function, making the molecule a promising therapeutic target for chronic asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and several other lung conditions. A scientific paper on Dr. Croft's finding was published online today in the prestigious journal, Nature Medicine.

The finding marks Dr. Croft's second major discovery with therapeutic potential for asthma. His previous finding, of a novel molecular mechanism driving lung inflammation, is the basis for a potential asthma treatment now in Phase II human clinical trials.

"Dr. Croft's continued efforts to uncover the cellular pathways influencing asthma and other lung disorders have produced remarkable results," said Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., La Jolla Institute president and chief scientific officer. "He is a researcher of the highest caliber and I believe his discoveries will someday improve the lives of millions of people around the world."

In his Nature Medicine paper entitled, "The tumor necrosis factor family member LIGHT is a target for asthmatic airway remodeling," Dr. Croft showed that blocking LIGHT's interactions with its two receptors significantly inhibited the process of airway remodeling in mouse models of chronic asthma. Airway remodeling refers to inflammation-fueled structural changes in the lungs, including fibrosis, which can occur over time and result in declining lung function that strongly contributes to conditions such as COPD, chronic asthma, and several other respiratory disorders.

Asthma affects more than 20 million Americans, including nine million children, and is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among U.S. children under age 15. According to federal officials, asthma results in $14 billion
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Contact: Bonnie Ward
contact@liai.org
619-303-3160
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Source:Eurekalert

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