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Asthma Discovery May Lead to Better Treatments

Researchers come closer to understanding key airway changes

FRIDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- A key element in the development of chronic asthma has been identified by British researchers, who suggest that their finding may lead to new treatments.

The study by a team from King's College London and Imperial College London helps explain why the structure and function of airways in people with asthma are remodeled and how these changes contribute to chronic asthma.

"It is widely believed that this remodeling in asthma is in large part responsible for the chronicity of the disease. There are many features responsible for remodeling, but a key component of this process involves an increased amount of smooth muscle in the airways," study leader Dr. Tak Lee, head of the division of asthma and allergy research at King's College, said in a news release from the college.

The study appears in this week's online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This research into the causes of asthma provides us with vital clues as to how such symptoms could be stopped and it has uncovered important information, which we hope will lead to the creation of effective new treatments for the millions of people in the U.K. affected by asthma symptoms," Dr. Elaine Vickers, research relations manager at Asthma U.K., said in the news release.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has more about asthma.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: King's College London, news release, June 15, 2009

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