A group of scientists from the Academic Unit of Human Medicine and Health Sciences at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas (UAZ), in coordination with the General Hospital of Zacatecas, works finding an enzyme expression profile in order to understand and offer treatments for chronic bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema, inflammatory and progressive diseases that obstruct breathing for which there is no cure so far.

In an interview with the News Agency of the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), Project Leader Dr. Jose Isaias Badillo Almaraz said the aim of this study is determining the expression of metalloproteinases, proinflammatory enzymes that act during the evolution of chronic bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema. The researchers are working on this project since January 2017.

If we better understand the process of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), mainly consisting of chronic bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema, we can search for blockers for inflammatory substances or for the cells that produce them; and propose them as curative methods; because the treatments currently existing only improve the quality of life and do not represent a complete solution for these conditions.”

Dr. Badillo explained that the main causes of COPD are smoking and exposure to biomass smoke. He said that in rural areas biomass fumes are produced by burning wood and other fuels used for cooking food; while in urban areas, smoke comes mainly from the use of vehicles that run on fossil fuels and from factories.

This is one of the social and health problems we have, since more than 90 percent of COPD deaths occur in middle and low income countries, where prevention strategies are not always accessible to all patients. In this research, our group has completed the samples collection stage, and we have detected some inhibitors of these inflammatory substances, including cystatins. This was the first step and we already visualize the next one“.

Collection and analysis of samples

Dr. Badillo explained that for this study they have the approval of the Committee on Education and Research of the General Hospital of Zacatecas. At this early stage of research, the group has collected 36 blood samples from sick patients, to be contrasted with 36 samples of healthy people.

Once extracted samples, the serum is separated, which is then freezed. Until we have completed all of them, we process those using reagents in a single run for the optimal use of resources. ”

José Isaías Badillo said that there are some scientific papers in world literature exposing the expression profile of metalloproteinases in COPD at a ribonucleic acid (RNA) level. However, this is the first study of these molecules where proteins are proposed as proinflammatory substances in COPD.

Margarita de la Luz Martinez Fierro doctor said that COPD is a slow evolution and usually becomes evident after 40 years of age and their most common symptoms are shortness of breath, chronic cough, expectoration and, as the disease progresses, efforts for any activity are higher.

COPD has no cure, so treatment is aimed only at relieving symptoms and that is why it is important to evaluate biomarkers to identify patients early in the disease, contribute to the development of more effective therapeutic alternatives then current ones, and which serve as tools for assessing patient outcomes,” said Dr. Margarita de la Luz Martinez Fierro, who participates in the research project.


Source: Agencia Informativa CONACYT