Study findings could help developing new drugs to enhance lung function and respiratory system function
Non-smokers definitely choose the best way to stay healthy. Nevertheless, not all smokers will develop lung disease, as well as non-smokers can get ill even if they weren’t exposed to the tobacco smoking risks.
New study analyzed health and genetic data from 50.000 UK Biobank project volunteers. The findings, published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal, were presented at the European Respiratory Society meeting.
The researchers looked for a disease known to affect over 3 million people in UK only, named Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD leads to breathlessness, chronic coughing and respiratory infections, and finally to bronchitis and emphysema.
By comparing results, scientists discovered that genes affect the way the lungs responds to injury, therefore smokers with “good genes” have a lower risk of developing COPD than smokers with “bad genes”.
“There doesn’t appear to be any kind of magic bullet that would give anyone guaranteed protection against tobacco smoke – they would still have lungs that were unhealthier than they would be had they been a non-smoker.
“The strongest thing that people can do to affect their future health in terms of COPD and also smoking-related disease like cancer and heart disease is to stop smoking”, Prof Martin Tobin, researcher at the University of Leicester, declared for BBC News.
Considering nicotine addiction consequences, study findings offer new clues about helpful drugs development, as Ian Jarrold, head of research at the British Lung Foundation, also states: “These findings represent a significant step forward in helping us achieve a clearer picture about the fascinating and intricate reality of lung health.
“Understanding genetic predisposition is essential in not only helping us develop new treatments for people with lung disease but also in teaching otherwise healthy people how to better take care of their lungs.”