Interesting: researchers find a way to diminish damage smokers do to lungs

Okay, smoking is wrong and horrible, but statistically, a lot of you reading this are smokers.

If you’re one of those people that hasn’t successfully managed to quit for very long, you may be in luck. Australian researchers have isolated a protein that can be blocked to halt the inflammation caused by cigarette smoking, and possibly lessen the risks of conditions like Emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The researchers carried out the experiment on mice (spoiler alert: the mice die), blocking the protein in half the mice and leaving the other half exposed unprotected to the equivalent of 9 cigarettes a day for four days. The results showed that the anti-GM-CSF treated mice responded favorably:

Cigarette smoke-exposed mice that were treated with an anti-GM-CSF had significantly less lung inflammation in comparison to untreated mice. This indicates that GM-CSF is a key mediator in smoke-induced lung inflammation and its neutralization may have therapeutic implications in diseases such as COPD.

Researchers caution that not only do the findings not have an effect on cancer caused by smoking, but human therapies based on the study are a long way off. However, if you don’t see yourself ending your relationship with Big Tobacco any time soon, this could be interesting news.

[io9]