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New technique reduces tobacco smoke damage to lungs in mice
Date:3/17/2010

for the presence of inflammatory cells.

"We found that anti-GM-CSF strongly reduced the number of potentially harmful white blood cells that infiltrate the lung after smoke exposure, as well as inhibiting the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-, the chemokine macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2), which coordinates the movement of white blood cells into the lung. It also inhibited the protease MMP-12, which is known as one of the main enzymes able to destroy lung tissue," said lead researcher on the study, Ross Vlahos, Ph.D., a senior research fellow with the lung disease research group at the University of Melbourne. "Cigarette smoke-exposed mice that were treated with an anti-GM-CSF had significantly less lung inflammation in comparison to untreated mice. This indicates that GM-CSF is a key mediator in smoke-induced lung inflammation and its neutralization may have therapeutic implications in diseases such as COPD."

These results, though preliminary, may illuminate a new pathway toward fighting smoke-related disease, specifically COPD. "Short-term models often translate into benefits in longer-term models. We still need to develop new methods and agents to test this idea long term and we also need to learn if it is effective in reversing longstanding disease," explained Dr. Vlahos.

In future research, Dr. Vlahos hopes to test whether GM-CSF could be a key target in other disease processes. "We want to understand exactly how blocking GM-CSF alters disease processes at the cellular and molecular levels so we can use this fine detail to make other treatments."

But this research is no free pass for patients to continue smoking, he warned: "Our treatment deals with cigarette smoke-induced lung inflammation involved in COPD, not cancer and other smoking-related ailments. Quitting remains the best and only cure for smoking-related lung disease."


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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-305-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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