Boffins have developed a new treatment that not only halves asthma attacks, but is also non-drug therapy.
What’s more is that this treatment is by far better than any drug therapy that has been developed over the space of a decade.
The treatment, that was carried out on 112 patients across four countries between the ages of 18 to 65, involves inserting a probe into the lungs under anaesthetic and heating the tissue in the narrow bronchioles, the smallest airways, to destroy the smooth muscle.
And, three treatments that last up to 20 minutes each, over a period of three weeks is all that is needed to see a marked improvement say the researchers.
The boffins noted that during a follow-up period of one year, patients who had received the treatment had their asthma attacks cut by half. The researchers also noted that patients spent fewer days suffering from wheeze and breathlessness.
The quality of life also improved significantly.
Study co-author Professor Paul Corris, of the University of Newcastle said that the study opened new doors in asthma treatment as no other drug therapy could match its effect.
"This was a highly significant effect. These people were already on high doses of drugs to control their asthma. It has to be seen as the first non-drug therapy for asthma that is showing promising results. No other drug therapy has had this effect," the Independent quoted him, as saying.
"The fact that the improvement is still being seen a year later - and in some of our patients up to two years later - is encouraging. It does mean the treatment could have practical application," he added.
The results are reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.