Public Release:  Brigham and Women's doctors research new treatments for severe asthma

Vitamin D is among the novel approaches being studied

Brigham and Women's Hospital

Boston, MA - Chronic asthma sufferers may have new hope for relief due to two new research studies that are getting underway at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH). Researchers from BWH's Asthma Research Center are exploring whether two new therapies will relieve asthma symptoms.

In the first clinical trial, volunteers with mild to moderate asthma will be randomly selected to receive vitamin D, along with an asthma controller medication, while others will be selected at random to receive a placebo. Researchers believe that vitamin D might play an important role in reducing the inflammation that interferes with breathing.

In the second clinical trial, participants with hard-to-control asthma will be randomly selected to receive a medication called Imatinib or a placebo. Imatinib is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat leukemia, but researchers hypothesize that it could also benefit asthma sufferers because it works by targeting specific cells that may also play a role in asthma and inflammation.

"The results of this research may present a great opportunity to bring relief to long-suffering asthma patients," said Elliot Israel, MD, director of the Asthma Research Center. "Additionally, as part of the studies, participants can learn key asthma management techniques."

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Patients who are at least 18 years old and have asthma may be eligible to take part in these studies.

To learn more, email arc@partners.org or call (617) 732-8201.

These research studies are funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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