There’s a new development in the treatment of COPD caused by cigarette smoking that may help researchers find better medical therapies to treat it. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder is a chronic inflammatory lung disease, mostly caused by tobacco smoking, that obstructs airflow out of the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, frequent respiratory infections, and a chronic mucus-producing cough.
It is believed that the reason people who suffer from COPD caused by smoking don’t respond well to current therapies is due to a large number of neutrophils (white blood cells) that accumulate. Neutrophils are the most abundant and most common white blood cell whose role is to attack infections in the body. You often see them as pus.
In studying the reasons for this accumulation, researchers have found a protein called IL-26 that is present at high levels in the lungs in patients with COPD caused by tobacco smoke. Science understands these IL-26 proteins to be inflammation-causing “neutrophil mobilizers”. These proteins are often seen in patients with Crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and Hepatitis C. Hopefully this new finding will lead to more research in how to treat this condition.
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