A tablet made from a protein that is found in house dust mites could transform the treatment of asthma. The tablet has been developed by Danish firm ALK Abell, which also made the anti-hay fever pill Grazax, melts underneath the tongue. The drug contains extracts of proteins found in dust mite droppings.
The new tablet is premeditated to re-tune the immune system so that it does not over-react when comes into mite droppings. This type of treatment is called as immune-therapy and works by repeatedly exposing the immune system to minute amounts of the protein. More than five million people in Britain suffer from asthma.
The new pill re-tunes the immune system so that it no longer interprets the proteins as a threat and does not trigger the histamine rush, which causes asthma attacks. The leading causes of wheezing and asthma attacks are house dust mites. They are small creates, related to spider family are of size less than half a millimeter and whitish in colour.
They flourish in dark and humid places. Because these mites fed on dead human skin, they can congregate in carpets, mattresses, pillows, clothing, upholstered seats and even in soft toys. Their droppings contain proteins which are touched or inhaled by someone who is allergic to them, triggers the immune system to produce antibodies that cause the large-scale discharge of chemical called histamine.
This rush of histamine leads to swelling and irritation of the airways, causing difficulty in breathing and asthma attacks. People, sensitive to dust mite droppings are advised to take preventative measures such as washing walls and floors using wet cloths and freeze even cloddy toys once a month to destroy any mites that might harbor.
In an initial trail involving more than six hundred asthma patients those allergic to house dust mites, were given new tablet. About one in three on the pill was able to stop using their inhaled steroids. Leanne Metcalf from Asthma UK stated, ninety percent of people suffering asthma often complain that dust triggers their symptoms, so this study is encouraging.
They know some people find inhalers difficult to use, and asthma medicines can have side-effects if taken in high doses or for a long time, so they look forward to when this research can be translated into an alternative treatment, concluded Metcalf.