Researchers from the University of Sheffield investigated how certain cancers treatments can impact the inflammatory response that leads to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
A research team at the University’s Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease screened a library of cancer drugs and identified a number of compounds which accelerate the death of the neutrophil cells and promote healing in the lungs.
The research, funded mainly by the Medical Research Council, discovered that specific cancer drugs inhibit a cell signaling process controlling the death-rate of the harmful neutrophils. The team also discovered that editing the genes that encode the cell signaling in the first place, further decreased inflammation.
Dr Lynne Prince, Russell Fellow at the University of Sheffield, said: “COPD is usually treated with steroids and airway muscle relaxants which ease symptoms, but there is currently no effective treatment clinically available to counteract the damage it does to the lungs.