Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have reported that a common asthma drug can retard the development of aortic aneurysm in mice.

“Our results are exciting and open the way for a medical treatment of this serious vascular disease,” says Professor Jesper Z. Haeggström at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics.

An aortic aneurysm occurs when the wall of the body’s largest artery, the aorta, weakens and swells. The disease progresses slowly and affects some 5% of men and 1% of women over the age of 60. The condition is largely symptom-free and is normally therefore not discovered until late in its development when it threatens to rupture and cause life-threatening hemorrhaging. There are currently no drugs for preventing and treating aortic aneurysm.