A variant of the gene MMP12, which basically plays a role in inflammation, has been found by researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital to be helpful when it comes to protecting children from asthma and adults who smoke from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Researchers have noted that adult smokers with the said variant of the gene are much less at risk of contracting COPD, and it also helps in protecting lungs of children to fight against asthma better. Identification of the variant has raised hopes of findings new drugs and treatment methods for the aforementioned conditions.
"Levels of the MMP12 gene may impact the quality of life for those individuals with asthma and COPD, and may allow us to come up with potential therapeutic approaches. By understanding more about this specific gene we can find ways to induce or oppress that protein expression in the lungs", said Jeffrey Cirillo, Professor of Microbial and Molecular Pathogenesis.
The research, which was funded by grants from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, has been detailed in online in the New England Journal of Medicine.