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Monday 18th June 2018

Asthma genes targeted by drugs

23rd September 2010

A major study led by UK researchers has identified a number of genetic variants which are linked to people with asthma.


The international team headed by Imperial College London now believes the findings could lead to new targets for drugs.

More than half a million tests were carried out on the genes of 10,000 children and adults with the condition, and 16,000 non-asthmatics.

The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that the latest genetic variants discovered by the research appeared in more than a third of children with asthma.

Professor William Cookson from Imperial College London, who co-ordinated the research, said: "Asthma is a complex disease in which many different parts of the immune system can become activated.

"Our study now highlights targets for effective asthma therapies and suggests that therapies against these targets will be of use to large numbers of asthmatics in the population."

However, with one in seven children in the UK suffering from the condition, the scientists warned that gene testing could not predict who would get the condition.

Asthma UK said the study would help in the understanding of how the genetic side of asthma worked.

Spokeswoman Leanne Metcalf said: “Importantly, it has also shown that genetic testing does not help to predict who is susceptible to developing asthma, meaning that early diagnosis and intervention, and effective treatment for everyone who is affected by asthma, are even more vital.”

But she said the findings will help ensure that scientists can focus research on the most influential targets for asthma.


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