Fungi found in the lungs could offer clues about asthma
20th February 2013
Welsh scientists could have made an important breakthrough in the development of affective asthma treatment after discovering hundreds of varying fungal particles within the lungs of both asthma sufferers, and healthy individuals who did not have the lung condition. Previously, many would have assumed that our lungs were absent of life, so the new discovery that the lungs are host to organisms may now prove massively beneficial for the 5.4 million people across the UK who have asthma. The large study, which is the first of its kind, has been published in the journal BMC Infectious Disease. It shows how the team from Cardiff University's School of Medicine have managed to detect high numbers of fungi existing in healthy lungs, whilst also finding other differing kinds of fungi in asthma patients. “Historically, the lungs were thought to be sterile”, says Hugo van Woerden from Cardiff University’s Institute of Primary Care and Public Health, who led the research. He continued: “Our analysis found that there are large numbers of fungi present in healthy human lungs. The study also demonstrates that asthma patients have a large number of fungi in their lungs and that the species of fungi are quite different to those present in the lungs of healthy individuals.” Van Woerden and his colleagues analysed the mucus or sputum from a large collection of patients both with and without asthma and subsequently unearthed some 136 different fungal species from the induced sputum samples. Of this total, 90 fungal species more prevalent within the lungs of asthma patients and 46 were more common within the lungs of patients who did not suffer from asthma. “Establishing the presence of fungi in the lungs of patients with asthma could potentially open up a new field of research which brings together molecular techniques for detecting fungi and developing treatments for asthma. In the future it is conceivable that individual patients may have their sputum tested for fungi and their treatment adjusted accordingly”, added van Woerden. Cardiff researchers have previously established a link between fungi and asthma however and they have said in the past that by eradicating fungi from people’s homes, this could dramatically help life for those who suffer with asthma. Medical Specialists Pharmacy is able to help you if you are suffering from asthma. We can provide any new or existing asthma patient with a wide range of medications. If you have already been prescribed an inhaler, have lost your inhaler, or run out and cannot get a prescription immediately, we are able to supply you an inhaler to help your asthma symptoms. You can undergo a quick and easy confidential online consultation with one of our GMC-registered Doctors and if suitable, they will write you a prescription which is passed to our in-house RPSGB–registered Pharmacists and dispensed to a location of your choice. We have both blue (relievers) inhalers such as Ventolin and Salbutamol, and brown (preventers) inhalers such as Qvar Beclomethasone and Qvar Easi-Breathe.