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Cancer drug helps combat asthma in mice

In a mouse model of allergic asthma, dasatinib – an enzyme inhibitor approved for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia – reduced inflammation, enhanced airway repair, and improved lung mechanics.

The drug targets tyrosine kinases, which are enzymes that interact with a variety of cell-surface receptors and participate in signaling pathways within the cell. Dasatinib may be a potential treatment for asthma because some of the signaling pathways involved in inflammation are triggered by tyrosine kinases.

“While our findings suggest that dasatinib may help treat asthma, more studies are required to elucidate the mechanisms of action of dasatinib in asthma and to determine its effectiveness in humans,” said Dr. Patricia Rieken Macedo Rocco, senior author of the British Journal of Pharmacology study.

Article: The tyrosine kinase inhibitor dasatinib reduces lung inflammation and remodelling in experimental allergic asthma, A. L. da Silva, R. F. Magalhães, V. C. Branco, J. D. Silva, F. F. Cruz, P. S. Marques, T. P. T. Ferreira, M. M. Morales, M. A. Martins, P. C. Olsen and P. R. M. Rocco, British Journal of Pharmacology, doi: 10.1111/bph.13430, published online 1 February 2016.