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Allergen Delivery Inhibitors: A potential end to asthma? | A film by the Wellcome Trust

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Uploaded on Jun 24, 2011

Asthma kills three people a day in the UK. It does this by leading to asphyxiation, a severe lack of oxygen to the blood and, ultimately, the brain. This is a death toll Clive Robinson (University of London) and David Garrod (University of Manchester) are determined to eradicate.

At the heart of asthma lies an excessive reaction to a 'trigger'; something in the person's environment elicits a strong response in their airways. This trigger causes the smooth muscle surrounding the myriad of delicate airways branching throughout the lungs to constrict. The result is a series of symptoms that people with asthma know all too well: wheezing, shortness of breath and a tightening of their chest.

One of the principal causes of asthma is the house dust mite. Less than half a millimetre in size, these minute creatures share occupancy with humans in our soft furnishings (beds, carpets, furniture and so on), eating tiny particles of organic matter - such as our skin. While it's been known for some time that the mites' waste contains an allergy-causing protein, it's only now that the researchers have discovered a way to block this protein's action. By doing so, they hope to create an entirely new class of anti-asthma drug, targeting the root cause of asthma itself, rather than its symptoms. In this short film, they explain how.


A film by Barry J Gibb.

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