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A. Asthma-Causing Molecules Identified

Narrator: This is Science Today. For the first time, researchers have identified two molecules that trigger cells to cause asthma, a disease which affects over 10 million people nationwide. Gabrielle Grunig, a visiting scientist at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered asthma begins with two molecules called interleukin-4 and interleukin-13.

Grunig: They directly talk to cells within the lungs that then cause the problems in asthma - the airway narrowing and the mucous overproduction.

Narrator: Currently, treatment for asthma targets only the symptoms. Grunig and her colleagues hope their findings may lead to drugs which will get to the root of the disease at a cellular level.

Grunig: That's why we're so very excited to see in our study that if you block this interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 and interleukin-4 receptor, that system - that then you can actually diminish the number of these mucous producing cells that come up within the lungs.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.