Drop your inhaler — you may not need it anymore. Scientists at Cardiff University in Wales say they have found the root cause of asthma, The Telegraph reports. And the discovery could lead to a new treatment for the condition within the next five years.
Using mice and human airway tissue from asthmatic and non-asthmatic people, the team was able to prove that the calcium sensing receptor (CaSR) is the cause of the condition. In asthma patients, the CaSR is overactive and causes the airways to become inflamed and narrow. When this happens, the tell-tale symptoms of asthma occur: coughing, wheezing, the feeling of a tight chest and loss of breath.
After uncovering the cells that are triggering the problem, researchers also realized that drugs already exist that can deactivate these cells and put a stop to all the symptoms. Calcilytics, a calcium receptor antagonist used to treat bone deficiency, could be the answer to asthmatics’ prayers everywhere.
“If we can prove that calcilytics are safe when administered directly to the lung in people, then in five years we could be in a position to treat patients and potentially stop asthma from happening in the first place,” said professor Daniela Riccardi, lead investigator of the study.
If this continued research proves successful, this could be the best news for asthma sufferers yet.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com