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Interferon might help asthma patients breathe easier, UT Southwestern study suggests
Date:7/13/2010

cription factor Th2 cells express to regulate their function.

"Interferon is blocking the development of these cells and their stability, and it's doing this by targeting the very transcription factor that regulates their development and stability in the first place," Dr. Farrar said. "By targeting this transcription factor, we've turned off the key component that regulates the entire process."

The findings, he said, provide proof-of-principle that targeting this particular group of cells with interferon might be an effective therapy for those with asthma.

"The study has confirmed that it's the Th2 cells that you really want to target," he said. "If you can stop a Th2 cell from ever developing, and if you can take a Th2 cell that has already become one and stop it from secreting these asthma-causing chemicals, then that's really the 'Holy Grail' of treating asthma."

The next step, Dr. Farrar said, is to study whether interferon will prevent Th2 cells taken straight from asthma patients from secreting the chemicals known to induce asthma.

"If interferon works against these cells, I think that would be an excellent basis for beginning a clinical trial and treating asthma patients," Dr. Farrar said. "We've been treating humans with interferon for a long time, so we don't have to go through early-phase safety trials. We already have information about its toxicity."


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Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
kristen.hollandshear@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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