A New Cancer Treatment May Improve Asthma

You probably don't associate asthma and cancer, but researchers may now have reason to believe that a new form of cancer treatment may also help improve your breathing difficulties. In fact, a new cancer trial drug called R-Roscovitine seems to make a real difference in controlling asthma symptoms.

Asthma Benefits from Cancer Treatment

According to scientists at the Centre for Inflammation Research at Edinburgh University in the UK, the reason for the improvement is that the cancer treatment combats the cells in the immune system that can cause the asthma symptoms to flare. Their findings were included in the journal FEBS Letters in August of 2009.

The researchers believe that the cells in question, which are called eosinophils, exist in the airways and the lungs in order to help prevent infections and keep the body well. Yet despite their best intention, when too many of these cells exist, they can actually harm some of the other cells in your lungs and as a result, this can lead to asthma and the related inflammation that goes along with it.

Cancer Treatment Makes a Difference

That's where the new cancer drug can make a real difference. This cancer treatment works to lower the eosinophil count in your body through a process called apoptosis, which is used to remove unnecessary cells from the body by causing them to undergo a natural form of death.

The benefit of taking this approach is that it can be done without causing side effects that can be common with forms of steroid medications.  As a result, this cancer treatment can be a viable alternative for patients who don't respond well to corticosteroids, or they can even be used along with steroids in order to help increase the benefits.

The Significance of these Cancer Treatment Benefits

These findings are significant on many levels. First of all, R-Roscovitine can be an important way to help prevent or improve your asthma symptoms. But beyond this, the medicine also offers important hope to the future of asthma control, since the effectiveness of this medication can help scientists to develop other, similar alternatives and can provide more treatment options for people who are so greatly in need of such relief.

Better yet, the researchers who explored this topic found that other anti-inflammatory diseases, including allergies and eczema, can also be improved using this new cancer treatment, as well, so down the road this approach just may end up being used to treat a number of conditions and symptoms to help people feel better on many levels.


FESB Letters

University of Edinburgh