This molecule could constitute a revolution in the treatment of asthma

Recent research has shown that a new class of immunotherapy drugs may also be effective in treating asthma. This new class includes drugs used to treat arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

These pharmaceuticals are known as “jakinibs”. They are indeed capable of inhibiting the JAK1 protein, a protein that activates cytokines in the body. Cytokines, once activated, can lead to inflammation. This role played by the JAK1 protein is essential in the context of the immune response.

In the case of asthma, when the JAK1 protein activates cytokines in the lungs, it raises the level of inflammation to a point that could be life-threatening.

The molecule that neutralizes the JAK1 protein

Researchers at Trinity University in Ireland have just demonstrated that it is possible to suppress this violent immune response by inhibiting the JAK1 protein. The JAK1 protein inhibitor the scientists used is based on a metabolite called itaconate. It is a molecule that our body produces naturally. It is a molecule that participates in modifying the behavior of white blood cells. During their study, the researchers discovered how this molecule and one of its derivatives managed to stop the JAK1 protein so that the latter could no longer activate an overproduction of cytokines.

The itaconate derivative used for testing is called 4-octyl itaconate (4-OI). This molecule was able to suppress severe asthma in a model of the disease that did not respond to anti-inflammatories.

This is not the first time that jakinibs like 4-OI have been suggested as a potential treatment for asthma. A large amount of preclinical data supports the idea that deleting the JAK1 protein can reduce inflammation in the lungs.

Very promising laboratory tests

For the time being, the scientists behind the study have only performed tests on human cells and animal cells in the laboratory. The results obtained, however, give hope, but it is still necessary that the treatment be effective on human beings.

The researchers explained that they had hope for the production of new drugs based on itaconate. These products could represent a whole new therapeutic approach in the treatment of severe asthma.

SOURCE: sciencealert

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