Feeds

Aussie smoko-proofing drug prevents ill effects of cigs

Well, most of them

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Australian boffins have developed a treatment which allows mice to smoke cigarettes without the usual negative health consequences. The method could potentially allow gasper-loving humans to sidestep some of the self-destructive results of their habit.

The key to the business, according to lead cig-boffin Ross Vlahos, is Granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), an agent released by the lungs when they are exposed to cigarette smoke. GM-CSF causes inflammatory leukocytes to activate in the lungs, which then leads to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other complaints such as "oxidative stress, emphysema, small airway fibrosis, mucus hypersecretion and progressive airflow limitation".

Vlahos and his team at Melbourne uni decided to tackle this by the use of a blocking agent known as "anti GM-CSF". As called for by tradition, they got hold of a group of mice and dosed half of them with the miracle smoko-proofing drug, and left the others alone. Then all the mice were given "the equivalent of nine cigarettes of smoke each day for four days".

At the end of the test every single mouse was dead. However, this was simply because the boffins had killed them in order to examine their lungs. According to the mouse autopsies, the ones treated with "anti GM-CSF" were in much better nick than the others.

"Cigarette smoke-exposed mice that were treated with an anti-GM-CSF had significantly less lung inflammation in comparison to untreated mice," says Vlahos.

"This indicates that GM-CSF is a key mediator in smoke-induced lung inflammation and its neutralization may have therapeutic implications [for humans] in diseases such as COPD."

It would seem then that in future one may be able to take a shot or a pill and then happily puff away on one's little smoky treat, reassured in the knowledge that one's time in the 40-metre dash will be unaffected and the racking, sweaty, grey-faced smoker's cough will not make an appearance.

Unfortunately Anti GM-CSF isn't a cure-all, as the risk of cancer will still remain.

"Our treatment deals with cigarette smoke-induced lung inflammation involved in COPD, not cancer and other smoking-related ailments. Quitting remains the best and only cure for smoking-related lung disease," warns Vlahos sternly.

The smoko-proofing paper, Neutralizing GM-CSF Inhibits Cigarette Smoke-induced Lung Inflammation, is published online by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, here. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.