PerspectivePhysiology

Calcilytics for asthma relief

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Science  24 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6233, pp. 398-399
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab2173

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Summary

For decades, patients suffering from allergic asthma—the symptoms of which range from wheezing and shortness of breath to extreme difficulty in breathing—generally have been treated with agents that reduce airway inflammation, such as corticosteroids, or reverse airway constriction, such as β2-adrenergic receptor agonists. Unfortunately, up to 55% of asthmatics have suboptimal control with these drugs (1). Moreover, safety concerns regarding the use of β2 agonists have resulted in more stringent guidelines for their clinical use (2). Thus, there is pressing need to develop new and safe therapies. A study by Yarova et al. (3) points to a protein that controls the constriction and proliferation of smooth muscle cells lining the bronchial airway. Moreover, there is already a drug that inhibits this protein.