Scientists Discover Breakthrough Treatment That May Be Potential Cure For Asthma Patients
An important breakthrough in treatment for asthma sufferers has recently been discovered via new research. This could be exactly what the 262 million sufferers around the world need to help them better deal with their respiratory ailment.
This new study discovered that for those suffering from severe asthma, they actually have a distinct metabolite profile that is detectable in their urine, unlike those that suffer from mild-to-moderate cases of asthma or for otherwise healthy individuals.
Lead researchers of the study, Dr. Stacey Reinke of Edith Cowan University in Australia, and Dr. Craig Wheelock of Karolinska Institute in Sweden, analyzed urine samples from over 600 study participants over 11 countries – who were all a part of their U-BIOPRED study – a Europe-wide initiative to pinpoint and better understand the different sub-types of severe asthma.
Dr. Reinke shared, “Asthma affects 2.7 million Australians and there were 417 asthma-related deaths in Australia in 2020. To identify and develop new treatment options, we first need to better understand the underlying mechanisms of the disease.”
They explain that one way to do this is ‘to examine the body’s chemical profile, or ‘metabolome,’ which provides a snapchat of a person’s current physiological state and gives useful insight into disease processes.’
Dr. Reinke added, “In this case, we were able to use the urinary metabolome of asthmatics to identify fundamental differences in energy metabolism that may represent a target for new interventions in asthma control.”
What their research team figured out was specific type of metabolite – called carnitines – decreased in those with severe asthma. Carnitines play a vital role by ‘shuttling fatty acids into mitochondria for energy production.’ While deficiency is rare, foods such as chicken, pork, beef, cod, and milk actually provide people with their carnitine needs.
Additional studies found that the carnitine metabolism was lower in those with severe asthma. Moreover, they explain that ‘20 different genetic defects involved in fatty-acid metabolism have been identified, some of which impact carnitine production.’
What these new study findings will do is help enable researchers to work towards new and more effective therapies for asthmatics, possibly by looking into whether there is a link between genetic defects related to carnitine and severe asthmatics. If such a link is found, then one option for treatment could be a special asthmatic carnitine supplementation.
As explained by Dr. Reinke, it can be quite difficult and invasive to examine the lungs directly. Thankfully, they have tons of blood vessels.
She also shared, “Therefore, any biochemical changes in the lungs can enter the blood stream, and then be excreted through the urine. These are preliminary results, but we will continue to investigate carnitine metabolism to evaluate its potential as a new asthma treatment target.”