Respiratory conditions that restrict breathing such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are common killers worldwide. But no effective treatments exist to address the major cause of death in these conditions – excess mucus production.
“There is good evidence that what kills people with severe COPD or asthma is mucus obstructing the airway,” says Michael J. Holtzman, MD, the Selma and Herman Seldin Professor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “It’s a huge unmet medical problem and is only increasing in this country and throughout the world.”
Now, Holtzman and his colleagues have described the molecular pathway responsible for excess mucus in airway cells and have used that information to design a series of new drugs that inhibit that pathway.
Their study appears online Nov. 26 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.