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Discovery opens door to 'personalized' asthma therapy
Date:1/17/2008

GALVESTON, Texas In the last few years, personalized medicine using genetic or other molecular biology-based diagnostic tests to customize treatment for a particular patient has emerged as a powerful new tool for health care.

Therapy guided by genetic testing has proven highly successful in treating some types of leukemia and breast and lung cancer. Similar personalized therapies are on the horizon for other types of cancer, as well as diabetes, heart disease and other deadly disorders.

Now, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) researchers and their colleagues elsewhere have taken the first steps toward bringing the methods of personalized medicine to asthma.

Applying state-of-the-art protein screening techniques to samples taken from 84 asthmatic volunteers, theyve made the first identification of different subtypes of asthma based on distinct protein profiles, unique combinations of 10 or more proteins with which they are associated.

One of these profiles corresponds to a variety of severe, treatment-resistant asthma that, while rare, is responsible for 40 to 50 percent of the total health care costs associated with the disease.

We know that in asthma some people respond to very specific types of therapies and others dont, said Dr. Allan Brasier, director of UTMBs Sealy Center for Molecular Medicine and a senior author of a paper on the study appearing in the just-published January issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (online at http://journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/ymai). Being able to discover different asthma subtypes should allow us to tailor our treatments to increase the odds of a positive response, Brasier added.

To obtain their samples, researchers squirted a small amount of saline solution through tiny tubes into the anesthetized volunteers lungs. They then sucked the saline back out, bringing with it proteins washed free from walls of the network
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Contact: Tom Curtis
tcurtis@utmb.edu
409-772-2455
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Source:Eurekalert

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