A new pharmacological discovery by researchers from the National University of Singapore has discovered that artesunate, a common herbal-based anti-malarial drug, may be a more effective way to control asthma than current drugs.
Asthma is an incurable lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways, causing recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, and shortness of breath. It is a chronic condition that affects people of all ages, but most often starts during childhood.
Researchers at the National University of Singapore led by Associate Professor Fred Wong , together with Dr. Eugene Ho Wanxing, recently published a breakthrough discovery in the journal Metabolomics on July 16, 2014, demonstrating that artesunate, a common herbal-based anti-malarial drug can be used to control asthma. The team found that artesunate is able to suppress airway inflammation and produce an array of anti-inflammatory effects similar to those by dexamethasone, the most potent steroid currently available, and with less side effects. As long term usage of steroids may induce many potential side effects in asthmatic patients, the study suggests that patients may eventually be able to adopt artesunate as a safer and more effective alternative to control their asthma.
Moving forward, Associate Professor Wong’s team will further explore the therapeutic and pharmacological effects of artesunate for asthma, as well as for other medical conditions and intend to work with industry partners to test the effects of artesunate on asthma patients.
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