In the future chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) could be treated by certain cancer treatments. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease suffer excessive prolonged airway inflammation, which results in lasting lung damage.
The study findings recently published in the journal e Life show that certain classes of cancer drugs can be used to inhibit cell signaling processes that lead to neutrophils. Neutrophils are immune cells that cause lung inflammation and thus lung damage in patients with COPD. Neutrophils typically aid the healing process in infection or injury, but they may cause lung damage if they fail to die during apoptosis.
Furthermore, lung damage inevitably leads to the onset of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Apoptosis is a regulated process that eliminates potentially cancerous cells.
According to a team of scientists at the University of Sheffield patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may not be aware they have the disease until they are between 40 and 50 years of age.
This is because the disease develops slowly, and many patients are diagnosed with it when it is already quite advanced. Some of the symptoms that patients might experience are coughing, breathlessness, and frequent chest infections.
Being driven by inflammatory response chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be treated with drugs effectively used to treat inflammatory responses in cancer. Therapies that accelerate the death of neutrophils can potentially resolve inflammation and thus protects further damage of the lungs in patients with COPD.
Studies show that kinase-inhibiting drugs promote apoptosis in neutrophils. In other words, certain compounds in these cancer drugs help the process of healing in the lungs by accelerating the death of neutrophils.
The treatment with TyrphostinAG825 which is ErbB- inhibiting cancer drug has shown to lower the levels of inflammation in the analysis of injured animals. Gefitinib and erbstatin are also identified as drug candidates that could have a potential therapeutic effect in neutrophilic inflammatory disease.
Dr. Lynne Prince at the University of Sheffield expressed his hopes that these drugs can help patients living with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by clearing the damaging cells from their lungs. So for the first time. There might be a treatment that can prevent any further damage, and progress of COPD.
So far COPD patients have been treated with airway muscle relaxants and steroids that only ease symptoms but don`t counteract the damage that COPD does to the lungs, so they are not an effective treatment.
The drug compounds breakthrough is very significant for millions of people around the world as it may have a massive impact on their quality of life. The most exciting thing about this research is that drug compounds for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are currently available, so with continuous research, many people could benefit and have a better quality of life.
Neutrophilic inflammation is not only present in COPD, but also other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Genes that encode cell signaling can be edited and inflammation can be even more reduced. The final step is to test these drugs in patients with COPD, to understand their effect and thus be able to address any potential side effects that might appear.