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The accidental discovery giving hope to asthma sufferers

Article image for The accidental discovery giving hope to asthma sufferers

Monash University researchers have stumbled upon a discovery which could be a gamechanger for people with asthma.

Researchers have discovered an amino acid and a molecule which could reduce lung inflammation and prevent or reduce the severity of asthma.

Professor Ben Marsland, who led the research, says researchers were studying how the gut microbiome influences susceptibility to asthma when they made the discovery.

“We hypothesised we were going to actually make asthma worse,” he told Ross and Russel.

Instead, researchers found an amino acid and it’s by-product had the opposite effect.

“We actually found that in our experimental system, mice were completely protected against asthma,” Professor Marsland said.

“We found that a certain type of microbe was able to utilise the amino acid tyrosine to produce a small molecule which has this profound ability to reduce lung inflammation.”

The research is yet to be tested on people, but that’s the next step.

“This small molecule has the potential to become a drug that you would get from the doctor in order to treat severe forms of asthma,” Professor Marsland said.

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