“It is not a cure, but I think this treatment will give people a lot of hope,” says Rutgers immunologist Luis Ulloa. “There are a growing number of patients with no alternative because the current treatments either have critical side effects or aren’t working. We hope this will give patients a better option.”

Asthma is a common, chronic respiratory disease that affects over 300 million people worldwide and over 40 million people in the US. Another 11 million people suffer from COPD.

The scientists at the Rutgers University and Shanghai University have now identified a new treatment that could lead to more effective drug therapy for millions of individuals with asthma and other respiratory disorders such as chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD).

In the course of their investigation, the team examined more than 6,000 compounds and identified a drug (TSG12) that relaxes the muscles and opens the airways in asthma. This drug treatment, which is not toxic in human cells, prevents pulmonary resistance in egg-and dust mite-induced asthma.

The study, stretching over four years found that the protein, metallothionein-2 (MT-2), present in the asthmatic lung tissue relaxes airway smooth muscle cells and opens the airways, allowing asthma patients to breathe. They discovered that MT-2 was over 50 percent lower in asthmatic lung tissue. Further, they demonstrated how mice without the MT-2 protein were two-times more susceptible to asthma. Then, they confirmed that treatment with MT-2 improved the breathing of mice with asthma.

The TSG12 treatment, developed from the MT-2 protein, relaxed the airway smooth muscle cells, expanded the pulmonary airways, reduced pulmonary resistance and was more effective than current FDA-approved treatments, including bronchodilator inhalers used by almost all people with asthma.

he said,”We found that the TSG12 used in the study is both non-toxic and more effective in reducing pulmonary resistance and could be a promising therapeutic approach for treating asthma without losing their effectiveness over time,