Pilot study aims to help COPD patients with influenza

12/10/2021

Researchers from the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation and collaborators have been awarded a seed grant of $20,000 to advance a new treatment strategy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients suffering from influenza.

Influenza A infection is particularly prevalent and life threatening in COPD patients and there is an urgent need for more effective therapies.

The grant has been awarded by the Respiratory, Sleep, Environmental and Occupational Health Clinical Academic Group of Maridulu Budyari Gumal (Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise).

Funded will be the development of nanoparticles to deliver berberine, a naturally occurring compound, as an effective therapeutic intervention for influenza A virus (IAV) infection in COPD.

Principal Investigator of the study Dr Kamal Dua (pictured), researcher at the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation said that the lung disease COPD, commonly termed emphysema, is the second most common cause of hospitalisation and is the fifth most common cause of death in Australia.

“Influenza exacerbates COPD, increases inflammation and makes it even more difficult to breathe, potentially leading to increased hospitalisations and life-threating outcomes for patients,” said Dr Dua.

Berberine, known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, is poorly absorbed by the body and gut when taken by mouth.

“Formulating berberine into engineered nanoparticles could be a new approach to targeted drug delivery, to increase uptake by infected cells and to reduce the inflammatory effects of influenza,” said Dr Dua.

Investigators on the grant also include Professor Phil Hansbro, Director, Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation and Dr Keshav Raj Paudel, researcher, Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation.

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