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New asthma research opposes current drug treatment, says UH prof
Date:1/26/2009

HOUSTON Just when the Food and Drug Administration is reconsidering the use of stimulants to treat asthma, a new research study offers further evidence to support a University of Houston professor's theory that an opposite approach to asthma treatment may be in order.

Richard A. Bond, professor of pharmacology at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy (UHCOP), has been investigating whether beta-2 adrenoreceptor antagonist drugs (or beta blockers) ultimately might be a safer, more effective strategy for long-term asthma management than the currently used beta-2 adrenoreceptor agonists (or stimulants).

The beta-2 adrenoreceptor is a receptor found in many cells, including the smooth muscle lining the airways, and has long been a target for asthma drugs. However, a recent study shows the absence of asthma-like symptoms in a mouse model that lacks the key gene that produces the receptor. This lends further evidence to Bond's theory that questions whether the pharmaceutical industry should be working to block or inhibit the receptor instead of the current approach of chronically stimulating it to reduce asthma symptoms.

The study, "Beta2-Adrenoreceptor Signaling is Required for the Development of an Asthma Phenotype in a Murine Model," is in the current online issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), one of the world's most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serials. A follow-up commentary by an independent scientist in the field also will be published in the print issue of PNAS in February.

The timely release of this study comes on the heels of the FDA considering a renewed look at the use of long-acting beta agonist drugs (LABAs) at least those used alone, without a steroidal component for the management of asthma symptoms. In an FDA report released in December, an analysis of more than 100 trials on four drugs (two LABAs alone and two LABA/corticost
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Contact: Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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