Asthma could become a thing of the past within the next 5 years following a breakthrough discovery by scientists.
According to Telegraph,researchers at Cardiff University and Kings College London identified which cells cause the airways to narrow when triggered by irritants like pollution.
Drugs already exist which can deactivate the cells and based on this, the scientists are hopeful that in the future asthmatics take the drug to prevent an attack ever happening and ending the need to constantly carry an inhaler.
Speaking on the discovery, Professor Daniela Riccardi, from Cardiff University School of Biosciences described the finding as "incredibly exciting".
She further said:
"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.”
Prior too this, scientists knew that asthma was caused by inflammation in the small tubes which carry air and out of the lungs, but did not know what was triggering it.
However experiments on mice and human airway tissue found that calcium sensing receptor (CaSR ) cells, which detect changes in the environment, go into overdrive in asthmatics, triggering airway twitching, inflammation, and narrowing.
But when calcilytic drugs are inhaled, it deactivates the cells and stops all symptoms.
Scientists are hoping that clinical trials will begin soon and it is believed that this new discovery could also pave the way for new treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic bronchitis, for which currently no cure exists.