Pamela Guerrerio, MD, PhD
Research Awards Nationwide Recipient (2014-2016)
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Development of a Novel Treatment for Asthma
While current asthma therapies improve control of symptoms in many patients, there is little evidence that these treatments prevent or reverse the remodeling of the airways that results from repeated inflammation and injury. Airway remodeling leads to irreversible airway obstruction and worsening lung function in asthmatic children as young as 4 years old. Strong evidence suggests that airway remodeling results from overexpression of the molecule “transforming growth factor beta” (TGFbeta). Losartan, an FDA-approved drug that’s been safely used for years to treat patients with hypertension, has been found to down regulate TGFbeta signaling and is remarkably effective in treating conditions caused by excessive TGFbeta signaling. Dr. Guerrerio will test whether losartan can reduce TGFbeta signaling in the lungs of mice with asthma, and thereby improve lung function, reduce airway inflammation, and prevent and/or reverse airway remodeling. If this approach proves to be successful in mice, then human trials of losartan to treat asthma could follow quickly.