University of Houston (UH) professor Richard A. Bond, PhD, has received a commendation from the 2011 Medical Futures Innovation Awards (MFIA) as one of the top international medical innovators for his research on the treatment of asthma. Bond was the only researcher from the United States to be recognized at the awards ceremony in London earlier this week.

MFIA, which strives to bring innovative ideas to the commercial marketplace and improve patient care, gave Bond the commendation for his work on the use of beta blocker drugs to treat asthma and other airway diseases.

For the past decade, Bond, a pharmacology professor at UH, and his collaborators have been investigating the once-controversial use of a class of compounds called inverse agonist beta blockers to treat mild, chronic asthma. The research has shown that while this type of medication triggers an initial short-term negative effect of increased airway constriction, the effect appears to reverse with long-term use.

Researchers believe successful introduction of inverse agonist beta blockers into the marketplace could result in an improved quality of life for patients who suffer from a host of airway diseases, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and chronic bronchitis.

“Innovation is the lifeblood of any organization, especially in current frugal times of economic uncertainty,” said Andy Goldberg, MD, founder and chair of MFIA. “The Medical Futures judges were blown away by the sheer volume and quality of brilliant ideas that have the potential to change people’s lives. The judges were encouraged by Dr. Bond’s ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking on using beta blockers in COPD, an area of huge unmet need and, historically, where such drugs have deliberately been avoided.”

Although inverse agonist beta blocker therapy is not intended to replace “rescue” inhalers for immediately relieving acute asthma attacks, Bond has suggested that a daily dose of the medication he is proposing could prevent or limit the severity or frequency of such attacks.

Source: University of Houston