Scientists have uncovered the root cause of asthma and potentially the formula to permanently cure the disease.
Asthma patients experience symptoms when the tubes that transport air to the lungs become inflamed and narrowed.
According to The Telegraph, researchers at Cardiff University and Kings College London conducted a series of experiments on mice and humans to reveal this inflammation is triggered by the chaotic behavior of cells known as calcium-sensing receptors.
The drugs that disable these cells are called calcilytics, and they have long been available as a treatment for osteoporosis.
Calcilytics can additionally eliminate asthma symptoms if they are directed to the lungs through inhalation, the team found.
Dr. Samantha Walker, who helped fund the research, said,
This hugely exciting discovery enables us, for the first time, to tackle the underlying causes of asthma symptoms. Five per cent of people with asthma don't respond to current treatments so research breakthroughs could be life changing for hundreds of thousands of people.
Calcilytics could eliminate the need for patients to carry inhalers everywhere they go because taking them would make asthma attacks nonexistent, though it's not clear for how long at a time.
Cardiff University School of Biosciences Professor Daniela Riccardi now believes that if the drugs are continuously proven to be completely safe for the lungs, asthma may be entirely wiped out within as little as five years.
Dr. Walker is requesting additional funding for the trials needed to solidify these findings.
Asthma research is chronically underfunded; there have only been a handful of new treatments developed in the last 50 years so the importance of investment in research like this is absolutely essential.
This incredible breakthrough was originally published in the medical journal Science Translational Medicine.