A breakthrough in understanding asthma

Ziba Kashef
Senior Writer, Editor and Communications Consultant, Yale University Office of Public Affairs and Communications
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A Yale-led analysis of gene expression in asthma patients identified three major clusters of the disease. The finding could lead to a personalized approach to asthma management.

The study was published March 12 in the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine.

Senior author Dr. Geoffrey Chupp, associate professor of medicine (pulmonary) at Yale School of Medicine (YSM), and his team analyzed genes in the sputum and blood of children and adults with asthma. They identified three major genetic subtypes that they called transcriptomic endotypes of asthma, or “TEA” clusters. The clusters divide asthmatics into three subgroups — those at risk of having near-fatal asthma attacks, those with severe symptoms of the disease, and those with milder asthma. The TEA cluster to which a patient belongs can be identified with a blood test.

While more research is underway to confirm the findings, the study may help identify those individuals at risk for the most severe asthma attacks, such as those requiring hospitalizations. The findings could also lead to more personalized treatment and better outcomes.

This article is published in collaboration with YaleNews. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Ziba Kashef is a contributing writer for YaleNews.

Image: J.Kim, takes medicine for his bronchial trouble at his house in Beijing November 2, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon.

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