`Immune system` regulating enzyme can help treat asthma and cancer

Washington: scientists have revealed that they have identified an enzyme, which is involved in the regulation of immune system T cells, that can help in treating asthma and boosting the effects of certain cancer therapies.

The research by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center found that mice without the enzyme SKG1 were resistant to dust mite-induced asthma, while mice with melanoma and missing the enzyme, developed far fewer lung tumors.

Jonathan D. Powell said that if they can develop a drug that blocks the enzyme in a way that mimics what happens when the enzyme is missing, we would not only have a treatment to inhibit asthma, but also a drug that could be used in conjunction with other experimental therapies aimed at helping the immune system fight cancer.

The study found that SKG1 enzyme promotes the production of T helper 2 cells, which become overactive in asthma and other allergies in a sort of runaway case of inflammation.

The study was published online in Nature Immunology.