October 26, 2006 --
Perth medical research team sheds new light on chronic health condition
Australian researchers have found that exposure to measured doses of ultraviolet light, such as sunlight, could reduce asthma.
The research team at Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health
Research, through funding provided by the Asthma Foundation of WA,
studied the effect of ultraviolet light on the development of
asthma-like symptoms in mice, such as inflamed airways and lungs.
The study found:
Exposure to ultraviolet light for 15 to 30 minutes before allergen
exposure significantly reduces the development of asthma-like symptoms
This UV exposure produces a cell type that, when transferred into other
mice before they're sensitised to an allergen, can prevent the
development of some of the asthma-like symptoms.
Professor Prue Hart, leader of the research team, which includes Dr
Debra Turner, Dr Shelley Gorman and PhD student Jacqueline McGlade, is
excited by the ground-breaking results and possible future applications.
research clearly shows that controlled exposure to ultraviolet light
markedly limits the development, incidence and severity of asthma
symptoms in mice," said Associate Professor Hart.
that sunlight can suppress specific immune reactions, so we are now
working to better understand that mechanism with the aim of generating
new ways to prevent and treat this chronic disease.
overexposure to sunlight can cause skin cancer, it is important that we
isolate and separate out the beneficial elements of ultraviolet light
if we are to develop a safe and effective asthma therapy."
Asthma Foundation of WA is committed to finding a cure for the
condition and annually provides over $200,000 in research grants. Since
1968 the Foundation has donated more than $3m, helping establish
Western Australia as an internationally recognised leader in this field.
Shave, CEO of the Asthma Foundation of WA, comments: "The Asthma
Foundation and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research have a
long and close association, and we are both very proud of what
researchers in this State have achieved over the years.
research, together with other research funded by the Asthma Foundation
of WA, has the potential to significantly improve the lives of people
with asthma not only in Australia, but around the world."
Asthma Foundation of WA and the Telethon Institute for Child Health
Research expect that the asthma and ultraviolet light study will take
several years to complete.
Source : Research Australia