In each sample, we measured 25 different cytokines, inflammatory signaling proteins that play a very important role in asthma, Brasier said. We found that our samples fell into one group associated with severe asthma, another group that looks like it represents less severe disease, and two additional groups whose significance we dont yet understand.
The unknown protein profiles, Brasier said, could be produced by types of asthma that respond differently to treatment, or that are generated by different genetic or environmental sources. These and other as-yet-undiscovered protein patterns may eventually be used to diagnose types of asthma aggravated by cigarette smoke, for example, or that cause a steady decline in lung function over a number of years.
Until now, all we knew was that asthma was a disease that manifested itself in many different ways, Brasier said. By using these patterns of multiple different proteins, we can start defining those different subtypes much more accurately which is very useful for trying to identify which ones will respond to which treatments.
According to Brasier, clinical applications of asthma protein profiling will have to await the discovery of additional protein patterns to match with other subtypes of asthma, as well as more sensitive tests that would allow for less invasive sampling techniquesa blood test, for example, or an analysis of exhaled breath.
Were still a little bit away from treating people, but thats coming, Brasier said. This is the proof of principle that you can apply proteomic patterns to personalized medicine in asthma.
|Contact: Tom Curtis|
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston