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Sharing Current Asthma Research For World Asthma Day

Asthma is one of the most common chronic non-communicable diseases, affecting over 260 million people worldwide and being responsible for over 450,000 deaths every year. Most of these deaths are preventable.

In recognition of World Asthma Day 2024, the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) has chosen “Asthma Education Empowers” as a theme. To reduce avoidable morbidity and mortality from asthma, GINA highlight the importance of empowering people with asthma with the education needed to manage their disease. Healthcare professionals are also called upon to provide reliable information and optimal treatment for their patients.

We wouldn’t have reliable information about asthma without ongoing research efforts. Even today, researchers continue to better understand asthma, one study at a time uncovering new insights that may lead to more effective treatments or management of the disease. So, to honour World Asthma Day, we highlight a recent pre-print, in which researchers investigate a potential therapeutic opportunity for type 2-driven diseases such as asthma.

You can find the full pre-print here, but some highlights that stood out to us include:

  1. – Discovery of a novel molecular mechanism involving the ASB2α-mediated degradation of filamins A and B that regulates the functions and properties of T helper 2 (Th2) lymphocytes, which are key drivers of airway inflammation in asthma.
  2. – Targeting the ASB2α-filamin axis could be a potential therapeutic approach for type 2-high asthma, a subtype of asthma characterised by excessive Th2 inflammation.
  3. – By increasing the levels of filamins A and B in Th2 cells, either through genetic deletion of ASB2α or by using the small molecule thiostrepton (TST), the researchers were able to attenuate airway inflammation in mouse models of ovalbumin-induced airway inflammation and house dust mite-induced asthma.
  4. – Mechanistic insights into how the ASB2α-mediated degradation of filamins A and B confers specific morphological features and enhanced migratory properties to Th2 cells, potentially optimizing their effector functions and recruitment to inflamed areas in the lungs.
  5. – Importantly, the researchers identified ASB2α, as well as the genes encoding the αV and β3 integrin subunits (ITGAV and ITGB3), as part of the core Th2-specific gene signature, highlighting their potential as therapeutic targets for asthma.

Overall, this study identifies a novel regulatory mechanism governing Th2 cell functions and proposes the ASB2α-filamin axis as a promising therapeutic opportunity to rewire Th2 lymphocyte-mediated responses in type 2-high asthma.

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Only through continued research efforts such as this can we keep building our knowledge of asthma. In doing this, we can better educate, living up to GINA’s theme and preventing avoidable morbidity and mortality.

In addition to GINA on the global level, there are many great national organisations that support asthma research at a more local level. For us in Australia, Asthma Australia and the National Asthma Council Australia do vital work to support those living with asthma, including research.