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Home > ASA Newsletter > November 30, 2005: Volume 1, Issue 8
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Allergy, Sinusitis, and Asthma Newsletter

Table of Contents:
1. From the Editors
2. Allergy, Sinusitis, and Asthma Articles
3. Sinusitis Experience - Turbinectomy Exposes Sinus Nerves
4. Feature - Targeted Treatment for Asthma Sufferers

With winter's arrival, many people are experiencing a new round of allergies - winter allergies. Winter is a time that dust mites and mold thrive. And turning on your heater for the first time in months can fill your entire home with dust. If you have filters, be sure to clean them. You may also want to consider an air purifier to keep the air clean in your home. After several months, I (Joe) recently changed the filters on my air purifier and was shocked at how much stuff it had captured on the pre-screen and filters. It was eye opening. The air purifier is one of the best investments I've made.

And speaking of winter, happy holidays to you! We hope that you find the season merry and healthy.

Stay warm,

Joe Tracy & Kim Lance - editors
ASA Newsletter

Here are the most recent articles, published by, that deal with allergies, sinusitis, and asthma:

Experts Examine the True Health Effects of Mold and Fungi
Recently, a group of leading experts gathered to distinguish fact from fiction when it comes to how mold effects our health. The experts reviewed recent scientific evidence on health effects of mold at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Anaheim. Topics included toxic mold syndrome, allergy shots for mold, and the psychological effects of mold presence...
Click here to read the entire article.

Allergy-Free Holiday Treats
The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) has released its Food Allergy News Holiday Cookbook to make sure that children (and adults) with food allergies can still enjoy delicious and allergy-free holiday treats this season. The cookbook features over 150 popular holiday recipes for special occasions throughout the year but substitutes out common allergens, which cause 90 percent of allergic reactions to foods...
Click here to read the entire article.

Survey Reveals Unmet Needs for Asthmatics
Results from the first-ever global quantitative survey on unmet needs in asthma treatment, unveiled this week in London, demonstrate significant inconsistencies between how physicians' and patients' assess current asthma treatment on issues that may affect health outcomes. Some of these treatment issues include medication side effects, patient education and physician-patient communication. The Global Asthma Physician and Patient (GAPP) Survey, a 16-country worldwide research study, was conducted to highlight the impact of asthma, a disease that is growing in prevalence by approximately 50 percent every decade, on a global scale...
Click here to read the entire article.

Sinusitis Diagnosis, Treatment and Management Update
An updated practice parameter released this month reveals some interesting statistics about sinus infections and sinusitis. The parameter reveals that sinusitis affects about 16% of the adult population, is one of the most diagnosed diseases in the United States, and is responsible for nearly $5.8 billion in health care costs annually... The practice parameter provides an updated definition of sinusitis and new recommendations for the diagnosis and management of sinusitis...
Click here
to read the entire article.

New Therapies for Allergic Rhinitis
New research presented at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy,Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) in Anaheim shows that new therapies for allergic rhinitis may be more effective and have fewer side effects than older medications,and may increase patient compliance...
Click here
to read the entire article.

ALLERGY EXPERIENCE - Turbinectomy Exposes Sinus Nerves
Yes I have had some real experiences. I was having a problem breathing at night through my nose because my nose tissue was swelling because of allergies/sinuses. So I went to an ENT doctor who performed a turbinectomy, removing nose tissue. He removed so much the nerves in my nose were left exposed and I was in severe pain, without any pain pills really helping. He wouldn't try to help me any further, he just told me to go somewhere else...
Click here to read the entire experience.

FEATURE - Targeted Treatment for Asthma Sufferers
When a patient has severe asthma their bronchial tubes can become scarred because of repeated episodes of allergic inflammation in the airways. The scarring results in blocked airways, excessive production of mucus, and shortness of breath. Combine that with the regular problems associated with asthma, and it makes for a miserable experience. Researchers at UCSD School of Medicine have discovered a new targeted treatment that may help some asthmatics.

The UCSD researchers have discovered that when a single gene - IKK beta - is selectively inactivated in the membrane-lining cells of the bronchial tubes of mice, such scarring, mucus production and airway inflammation is significantly reduced. These results are a promising advancement toward reducing scarring, inflammation, and mucus production in asthma sufferers.

David H. Broide, M.B.,Ch.B., Professor in UCSD's Department of Medicine, and Michael Karin, Ph.D., Professor in UCSD's Department of Pharmacology and the Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Signal Transduction, will publish their findings in the December 6 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This finding is significant because it suggests that if we can produce a drug that inhibits IKK beta - for example, a drug that is inhaled to target only the patient's bronchial tubes and not their immune cells - then the scarring, inflammation, and mucus production in asthma could be significantly reduced," said Broide.

IKK beta is a master regulator gene that is expressed in cells throughout the body including cells lining the bronchial tubes and immune cells, which are needed to fight infection. IKK beta also regulates the expression of many additional genes important to the start of airway inflammation in asthma.

Using gene-targeting strategies, the UCSD team selectively inactivated the IKK beta gene only in the mouse airway membrane-lining cells, called epithelial cells, but not in other cells outside the airway that also express the gene, such as immune cells. The researchers were able to show that mice lacking the IKK beta gene in these lining cells had significantly less airway inflammation, mucus production and scarring of bronchial tubes after repeatedly inhaling an allergen.

The researchers wanted to find a way to inactivate selective IKK beta genes specifically in the airway because blocking IKK beta throughout the entire body to prevent the damaging effects of asthma could cause larger problems by suppressing the patient's immune system, resulting in infections.

"An inhaled IKK beta antagonist could theoretically be designed that would not be absorbed into the blood stream, where it would affect the patient's immune cell function. Such a selective targeting of the drug to the airway would be able to reduce airway inflammation, mucus production, and scarring of the bronchial tubes, with reduced potential for negative side effects," said Broide.

While only about 10 percent of asthma patients have severe symptoms which lead to scarring of the bronchial tubes, these patients also account for about half of the health costs associated with asthma. It is obvious that new therapies to prevent scarring are needed. As patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease also suffer from mucus production and scarring of their lungs, an inhaled IKK beta antagonist could potentially prove beneficial in those patients as well as severe asthma patients.


That's it for this edition of the ASA Newsletter. The next issue will be delivered on December 21, 2005. Starting in 2006, the newsletter will be delivered on the first and 15th of every month.

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