Certain Cancer Therapies May Hold Promise in Treating COPD, Preclinical Study Suggests

Certain Cancer Therapies May Hold Promise in Treating COPD, Preclinical Study Suggests
Cancer therapies blocking specific protein receptors called ErbB reduced inflammation in animal models of inflammatory diseases — including those affecting the lung — by destroying neutrophils, a type of immune cell, a preclinical study found. According to the researchers, these findings suggest that treatments blocking the activity of these receptors may possibly be repurposed to treat several inflammatory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The findings were reported in the study, “Inhibition of ErbB kinase signalling promotes resolution of neutrophilic inflammation,” published in the journal eLife. COPD is characterized by excessive and sustained airway inflammation, and results in permanent lung damage. While neutrophils normally promote tissue healing following an infection or injury, their prolonged activation and survival may damage the tissue and lead to the onset of chronic inflammatory diseases, like COPD. For this reason, therapies that promote the death of neutrophils have the potential to resolve inflammation and prevent further lung damage in COPD patients. Cell-surface proteins called receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) are known to control cell death, and are frequently used as therapeutic targets in many cancer therapies. “However, it remains unclear which kinases regulate apoptosis [cell death] in neutrophils, or which kinase-inhibiting drugs may have the potential to treat COPD and other inflammatory diseases,” the investigators said. To learn more, researchers from the University of Sheffield, in the U.K., teamed up with colleagues in the U.S., the Netherlands, and Scotland, and a scientist from GlaxoSmithKline in England, to investigate compounds targeting the ErbB family of RTK. The goal w
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