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Jefferson Asthma Study Featured in Journal of Biological Chemistry

01/15/15

A Jefferson research study was recently selected by the Journal of Biological Chemistry as its Paper of the Week.  The selection tags the article as one of the top 1-2 percent of all papers published by the journal.

The research, led by Dr. Jeffrey Benovic, Thomas Eakins Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Jefferson, shows that a novel class of molecules could offer a new way of treating asthma, essential for patients whose disease is not well controlled by current therapy.

Many asthma medications work by activating the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR), which helps relax contracted airway muscle that makes it hard to breath during an asthma attack. Over time, with regular use, these drugs may stop being as effective at controlling asthma, as the body develops a tolerance to the drug.

Using a technique that involved creating molecules that looked like small pieces of the receptor, first author Richard Carr and colleagues found that some of these molecules activated the β2AR just as well as the traditional asthma drugs. But because these novel molecules activated the receptor through a different mechanism than current asthma drugs, there is a good chance that they could be developed into a new asthma therapy that would improve upon current therapeutic approaches.