Asthma sufferers now can be treated with a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, revealed by researchers in a new study.
Researchers found that medications like Tocilizumab to treat rheumatoid arthritis might be effective in treating asthma symptoms, especially after two genetic variants were linked to increase asthma susceptibility.
Researchers compared the genomes of thousands of asthma patients with individuals who do not have asthma across several populations and identified two genetic mutations that were strongly linked to asthma risk.
The genetic variants were:
rs4129267 in the interleukin-6 receptor (IL6R) gene, and
rs7130588 on chromosome 11q13.5
Tocilizumab, marketed under the brand Actemra, targets a certain molecule in the body called interleukin-6 receptor and reduces inflammation in RA patients.
More research needs to be conducted before it can be confirmed that the drug Tocilizumab may be helpful to asthma patients.
Asthma is a complex condition, and most likely several genes of small effect combine and interact with environmental risk factors in driving asthma risk.
Dr Ferreira leads the largest Australian study of asthma genetics ? the Australian Asthma Genetics Consortium ? which has brought together the top asthma experts from across the country to try to identify genes that increase the risk of developing asthma.
This international study is featured in The Lancet, led by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR).
Source: Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Australia