Scientists Find Out Why Asthma May Protect Against Brain Cancer

(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers from the United States have confirmed the observation that asthmatics are less likely to develop brain tumors. They figured out why this is happening.

The idea that people with inflammatory conditions such as asthma or eczema are less likely to develop brain tumors was first proposed over 15 years ago based on epidemiological observations. But the mechanisms of this pattern were not known. Staff at the University of Washington School of Medicine (USA) shed light on this issue. They published the results of their work in the journal Nature Communications .

The study used genetically modified laboratory mice, which, alas, were doomed to get brain cancer by the age of three months. In this case, the unfortunate animals were exposed to irritants that cause asthma. After that, experts checked the rodents’ brains for the presence of gliomas. It turned out that animals with asthma did not develop brain tumors.

Examining the body of mice, scientists found out that the so-called T-killers, a type of immune cell, are responsible for the above processes. When a human or mouse develops asthma, their T cells become activated and can trigger pneumonia. However, in doing so, they prevent the growth of brain tumors.

Asthma-induced T cells change their behavior and begin to secrete a special protein. It, in turn, acts on immune cells – microglia – by blocking their activation (it is the activated microglia that promotes the growth and development of brain tumors). According to the researchers, this knowledge may be useful in the therapy of brain cancer.

“Of course we are not going to cause asthma in anyone; asthma can be fatal, ”said senior author David H. Gutmann, MD and professor of neurology. “But perhaps we could trick the T cells into thinking they are asthma T cells when they enter the brain. And they, in turn, would no longer support the formation and growth of brain tumors. Our results hold promise for new therapies that target T cells and their interactions with brain cells. ”

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