Thursday, January 5, 2012

Arresting Asthma

According to the Asthma Society of Canada, asthma kills 10 people every week and afflicts 10 per cent of the Canadian population. Dr. Dean Befus, from the University of Alberta, in collaboration with Dr. Alan Schreiber from the University of Pennsylvania, are trying to arrest this process. Asthma usually strikes people when they are children, in the form of an allergic reaction to something. The body develops an antibody that reacts in the form of excess mucous or breathing difficulties. Dr. Schreiber discovered that one gene helps this reaction is called the Syk gene, and developed a way of blocking the inflammation. Dr. Befus implemented a test on a lab rat and effectively blocked the inflammation in the rat's allergic reaction to egg shells. This could lead to promising new treatments for asthmatics everywhere.
Their research is being funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). CIHR is Canada's preeminent health research catalyst and is funded by the government of Canada. An exciting new concept, CIHR is modernizing and transforming the health research enterprise in Canada.
To learn more about CIHR please visit:, e-mail: or write to: CIHR, 410 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa ON K1A 0W9.