Asthma Sufferers May Breathe Easier

A new discovery in a La Jolla lab could lead to a therapy to control asthma.

Nearly 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma, and 9 million of those are children.  Asthma-related health care costs in the U.S. are estimated to be a staggering $14 billion annually, according to the National Institute of Health.

Hope may be on  the horizon?  A major asthma discovery was made by the laboratory of La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology by scientist Michael Croft, PhD and is being marked as a major milestone in asthma research.  Bio-tech firm MedImmune has licensed the rights to that discovery to explore its use in the development of a potential drug for treating asthma. 

La Jolla Institute leaders hailed the agreement as significant for asthma sufferers.

"This agreement with MedImmune is an important first step toward the goal of translating some of Dr. Croft's groundbreaking work in the laboratory into an innovative therapy for improving the lives of asthma patients," said Mitchell Kronenberg, PhD, president and scientific director of the La Jolla Institute.

Kronenberg added that such licensing arrangements are a central part of the mission of research institutes and help to ensure that discoveries stemming from private and publicly funded research are put into direct use for improving human health.

But how long will it take to get from the research lab to the patient?  Maybe as soon as a few years, according to Kronenberg.

 "MedImmune possesses the capabilities to take the discovery through all stages of clinical development, as demonstrated by its successful track record of bringing biologics to market," Kronenberg said.

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