Study to Track Diabetes Drug’s Ability to Also Treat Asthma

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Investigators in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine and the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism recently received a $1.25 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The award will be used to investigate how a class of drugs currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity may also be effective in treating asthma.

Stokes Peebles, M.D., Elizabeth and John Murray Professor of Medicine, and Kevin Niswender, M.D., associate professor of Medicine and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, are co-principal investigators of the grant.

Through their research, they found that a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist significantly inhibited allergic airway inflammation in mice and reduced many of the physiologic and immunologic features that are also found in asthma in humans.

“This discovery is particularly important because there is increasing evidence that obesity is a risk factor for asthma, and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists might be able to be used to treat both diseases,” Peebles said.

“The increasing prevalence of obesity in the United States, particularly in the South, may be one of the reasons that we are seeing an increased prevalence of asthma. The discovery that a drug that is approved for the treatment of obesity might also decrease allergic lung disease is a win-win situation for patients who are overweight and have asthma.”