Respiratory News

Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine found that people who have asthma have molecules in their blood known as microRNAs that can be identified in a unique pattern. The exciting part about this discovery, reported in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology, is that a diagnostic blood test for asthma may be developed.

Want to stay out of the hospital? Belgian researchers found people with COPD who walked an extra 600 to 1,100 steps a day in their pulmonary rehabilitation programs had significant improvement and were less likely to be hospitalized.

Intranasal flu vaccines may be able to provide long-lasting protection against pan- demic flu strains, according to a study from Columbia University Medical Center. The re- searchers found that, in mice, the intranasal flu vaccine, FluMist, led to the production of T cells in the lungs that provided long- term protection against multiple flu strains, including those that were not present in the vaccines. Mice given the traditional injectable vaccine, such as Fluzone, did not produce these cells.

Vaccine developers may be able to make a universal vaccine that is capable of offering protection against both common and unusu- al strains of influenza. Because FluMist uses a live virus, it presently is not recommended for people with COPD.

Astra-Zeneca is studying an injectable medication for those with COPD called Benariluzmab.

A guide has been launched to assist health- care professionals in identifying and manag- ing people with chronic obstructive pulmo- nary disease who are at risk of malnutrition. Managing Malnutrition in COPD may be found at www.malnutritionpathway.co. uk/copd

 People with severe lung disease are being offered a new surgical treatment which uses tiny electrodes to burn away nerves that make them feel breathless. The operation being tested in England works by burning away damaged nerves, and in doing so pre- vents the abnormal narrowing of the airways and over-production of mucus.

The international clinical trial is called AIRFLOW-1. Information about the device used in the procedure may be found at www. holaira.com/technology

 Better make a trip to the bank! Research- ers from the University of Illinois predict prescription medication costs will rise be- tween 11 percent and 13 percent in 2016. They base this claim off of data on current trends and prescription drug costs made across the U.S.

Nucala (generic name mepolizumab) is a new injectable medication for people with severe asthma from GlaxoSmithKline. It does not replace any drugs that people use to maintain their asthma, but is an antibody that works to prevent attacks. It is given every four weeks at a cost of approximately

$3,000 per injection. To learn more, visit

www.nucala.com or call 1-844-468-2252.