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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

New genetic test to decide treatment for difficult childhood asthma

Researchers in Dundee and Brighton have reported in the journal Clinical Science a randomised study using gene testing aimed at improving treatment selection in children with asthma.
The gene variant (Arg16 genotype) they tested has previously been reported to be associated with failure to respond to commonly used beta-2 agonist bronchodilator inhaler treatment.
My comments below on the potential and limitations of the study were included in a briefing by the Science Media Centre.

Prof Donald Singer, Member of the British Pharmacological Society and Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Warwick, said:
“This study is important in providing evidence that simple genetic testing can be used to personalize selection of medicine in clinical practice – in this case applied to treatment choice in children with poorly controlled asthma.
“Their main outcome – less time off school because of asthma – is important both for children and their families. The authors were careful to consider poor compliance with asthma treatment as an important alternative explanation for their findings. However this is a small study and needs to be confirmed in larger well-controlled clinical trials.”

Research paper:
Tailored second-line therapy in asthmatic children with the Arg16 genotype.  Lipworth BJ et al., published in Clinical Science on Tuesday 8th January 2013.

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