Blocking immune system ‘messenger’ may treat severe asthma

Asthma is more dangerous than many people realize. An estimated 10 Americans die every day from asthma, and the disease leads to around 439,000 hospitalizations and 1.3 million emergency room trips each year. Immune cells work as a team, and they secrete molecules to “talk” to each other. One of these molecular messengers is HRF, which is made by many types of cells, including lung epithelial cells and immune cells called macrophages. When a person encounters an allergen, these cells start churning out more HRF. The HRF then courses through the body and looks for special antibodies to bind to. HRF has several different kinds of antibody partners, however, and each interaction sends a different message to the surrounding immune cells.

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