A new study may have uncovered a way to reduce the symptoms of lung diseases related to smoking.
Researchers at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital – assisted by those at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in the US – found that the progression of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) could be slowed, as well as the treatments improved dramatically.
In findings published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Science journal, the medical team discovered a protein – named SAA – plays a key role in chronic inflammation and lung damage, as well as inhibiting the lung's natural repair after a smoker has quit.
Professor Gary Anderson from the University of Melbourne believes that the discovery could become a dual treatment to improve lung function at any stage of COPD.
"It has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of many people suffering these conditions and reduce the huge burden of health and hospital costs associated with their treatment," he said.
For those looking for assistance in their attempt to stop smoking may find that their private health insurance policy also includes access to lifestyle management initiatives such as quit smoking programs.
It is expected that by 2050, 4.5 million Australians will have COPD in some form.