Spectrum News: New study finds molecule to help treat asthma

UC researcher's battle with the condition as a child inspired research

For Satish Madala, MD, of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the UC College of Medicine, his research into asthma treatments comes from personal experience, having been diagnosed with asthma as a child. He lead a just-published study that identifies a molecule that could lead to improved treatments for asthma.

In an interview with Spectrum News for a story on the study, Madala said, "Asthma usually attacks late in the night. It keeps you awake, it gives you sleepless nights."

Madala says this is because your immune system is trying to fight off allergens.  

Dr. Satish Madala and Santhoshi Akkenapally in Dr. Madala's lab. Santoshi is a grad student who co-authored a study with Dr. Madala on asthma was recently published in a prestigious journal.

Satish Madala, PhD, in the Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the UC College of Medicine/Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

"Your airways become narrow," said Madala. "When they become narrow, you can't take enough of the oxygen you need. So that's why kids cannot sleep, or even adults, when they have an asthma attack, they cannot breathe."

Matish lead a team of doctors and researchers at UC who collaborated with researchers at Cincinnati Children's on a study to help discover better treatment for asthma. 

Through their study, they found that a protein called interleukin 31 receptor is what is needed to help people with asthma breathe easier. And now they’re looking to see what other elements are needed to make it effectively work for treatment. 

Madala and his team are now trying to figure out what other elements are needed for the treatment to work effectively.

“We need to understand where that binding is happening,” said Madala. “So then we can develop a drug molecule that can prevent that interaction. So that so we can uncouple these interactions that drive that contractility. So then that molecule becomes a therapy for these patients.”

See the entire Spectrum story here.

Read more about Madala's research here

Lead photo of Madala and graduate student Santhoshi Akkenapally/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

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The University of Cincinnati is classified as a Research 1 institution by the Carnegie Commission and is ranked in the National Science Foundation's Top-35 public research universities. UC's graduate students and faculty investigate problems and innovate solutions with real-world impact. Next Lives Here.

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