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University Of Florida Researchers Hope To Ease Asthma Pains And Provide A Sigh Of Relief

GAINESVILLE --- Stephen Nowicki is a University of Florida medical student, triathlete and asthma sufferer. Since he was a child, Nowicki has suffered from exercise-induced asthma that he controls by taking medicine at least 20 minutes before exercising.

Nowicki took his experiences with asthma and his knowledge of medicine and began searching for better asthma treatments along with researchers at UF. Together, they hope to help Nowicki and other asthma sufferers like him. Their goals are to prolong the time the drug provides relief and to obtain a drug with minimal side effects. Asthma, a chronic disease characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing, is a result of muscular constriction of the air passages of the lungs. It affects an estimated 14.6 million Americans, according to the American Lung Association.

In their pursuit of better relief for those who suffer, Nowicki and a UF research team of pharmacologists and chemists are studying how a potential asthma drug binds to, and activates its receptor in the cells lining the airways of the lungs. "Our research methods allow us to investigate how the drug interacts with the receptor in the cell and to synthesize new compounds in which these interactions are refined," said Nigel Richards, UF chemistry professor and member of the research team. "If we can manipulate the structure of the drug so as to control the motions of the receptor, we can change the shape of the drug/receptor complex." Richards said this change in the drug/receptor complex may provide a method for lengthening the time it takes for the drug to leave the receptor, providing a longer action time for the treatment.

In the laboratory, Nowicki and the researchers are making changes to the structure of their lead compound and the receptor to confirm their ideas of how the drug fits the receptor found in the lungs of asthma sufferers. "When our drug molecule st
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Contact: Nigel Richards
richards@qtp.ufl.edu
352-392-3601
University of Florida
6-Oct-1998


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