The Hunter takes a lead role in asthma research

Aug 27 2009

Hunter researchers are leading a national study which could identify a new treatment for people with ongoing asthma symptoms.

he AMAZES study will recruit 420 patients across centres in Newcastle, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. Researchers are inviting non-smoking adults who are currently taking asthma medication to participate in the study.

“In a previous study of 45 people we have shown that macrolide antibiotics can reduce inflammation and improve quality of life for people with persistent asthma,” said Professor Peter Gibson, a Respiratory Staff Specialist at John Hunter Hospital.

“In the AMAZES study we are looking at the effect of macrolide antibiotics on asthma attacks, as well as how they modify inflammation and improve quality of life. This larger study will help us to determine the usefulness and safety of this new approach in the treatment of asthma.”

The study will involve researchers from Hunter New England Health and the University of Newcastle who are members of the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Viruses, Infections/Immunity, Vaccines and Asthma Research Program and the University’s Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases.

Current asthma medications target the eosinophil cell. However, it is thought that inflammation in people with ongoing asthma symptoms is caused by a different cell, called a neutrophil. This is usually associated with infections.

An effective treatment for symptomatic asthma associated with neutrophils could reduce asthma attacks which would result in better quality of life for patients and health cost savings through a reduction in emergency department visits and hospitalisation.

Participation will involve taking macrolide antibiotic medication or a placebo medication, in addition to their current asthma medication, and visiting the clinic at John Hunter Hospital for breathing tests.

For more information about participation phone the AMAZES clinical team on (02) 4985 5619.

This study is funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council grant to the University ofNewcastle. It builds on earlier studies that were supported by HMRI grants, funded by corporate and community donations.

HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.