Magnifying glass looking at pair of lungs

Discovery of Biomarker May Change COPD and Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment

Last updated: March 2022

New research shows that a tiny molecule could help doctors and scientists figure out who is at risk of a chronic lung illness. It may also lead to better treatments for people already living with these conditions.

The cAMP connection to chronic lung illness

Scientists from Rutgers University and Yale School of Medicine linked chronic lung disease to a protein found in the lungs. The protein can leak a molecule called cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), which tightens the airways. Blood tests can also detect cAMP.1,2

This is the first time researchers have connected the protein to airway diseases. They found the cAMP leak by studying the smooth muscle cells of people with and without asthma. They also examined blood samples. The researchers published their findings in the October 2021 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.

The future of detection and treatment

In the study, researchers also discovered higher cAMP blood levels in people with asthma. Blood testing could help doctors diagnose asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the future. Right now, they rely on lung function tests, chest X-rays, CT scans, and other tests to diagnose these illnesses.1-4

Detecting cAMP blood levels may also lead to new treatments like bronchodilators that stop the cAMP molecule from leaking. Many people with asthma and COPD use bronchodilators to ease symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath. These quick-relief inhalers open inflamed airways and help you to breathe easier.3,4

Knowing your chances of getting COPD or asthma could help you make more informed treatment decisions and impact your lifestyle decisions.

In the United States, 25 million people live with asthma while 14 million have COPD. Both are long-term lung diseases that block airflow from the lungs. They cause trouble breathing, cough, and wheezing. Continued exposure to gases or particles in the air like cigarette smoke usually triggers COPD. Asthma is likely caused by things in the world around us, or you may inherit it.1-4

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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