Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Europe wide study to examine causes of asthma

10.05.2006


Imperial College London and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich are to take the lead in a Euro 11 million (GBP 8 million) study to examine how genetics and environment influence the development of asthma in Europe.



The GABRIEL project, funded through an EC Framework 6 grant, involves over 150 scientists from 14 European countries and Russia, using the latest research across a variety of disciplines, including genetics, epidemiology and immunology, to identify key factors in the development of asthma bronchiale.

Professor Bill Cookson, from Imperial College London, and co-ordinator of the study, said: “Asthma bronchiale is the major chronic childhood illness in Europe costing the European Community more than Euro three billion each year. Although effective therapies for mild asthma exist, the 10 percent of children with severe disease account for 60 percent of this expense, and even when treatment is effective it is not able to cure the disease.”


Asthma is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental effects, and despite being rare a hundred years ago, it has become increasingly common in developed societies across the world. Scientists believe rural environments are strongly protective against the disease, and increasing urbanisation may be contributing to the rise in the numbers affected.

Professor Cookson added: “We hope this study will help us identify just how genes and the environment cause the development of asthma, identifying both risk and protective factors, with the long-term aim of preventing the illness.”

Professor Erika von Mutius from LMU Munich and co-leader of the project added: “Previous studies have shown the causes of asthma are incredibly diverse with a huge number of genetic and environmental factors all potentially having an impact. Traditionally it has been hard to analyse all the genetic and environmental information but the latest developments in areas such as genomics and bioinformatics now allow us to analyse this huge and complicated amount of data.”

As well as looking at genetic and environmental interactions, GABRIEL will study the molecular basis for environmental factors which can increase the risk of industrial asthma. It will also identify the agents which protect strongly against asthma in rural and farming communities and use genetics, genomics and proteomics to discover novel genetic and microbial factors that cause or protect against asthma.

The project will test genetic factors in over 40,000 subjects with childhood or adult asthma, with data from environmental factors such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, nutrition, allergen exposure and industrial agents.

Professor von Mutius added: “One particular area we will be looking at is the ‘hygiene hypothesis’, a theory which argues a lack of exposure to microbes in early childhood may cause an increased risk of developing asthma and allergies. Earlier work has indicated this may be the case, but we hope the scale of GABRIEL will allow us to properly test the hypothesis and to identify the responsible agents.”

GABRIEL will also develop model systems to investigate the molecular basis of genetic and environmental interactions which influence asthma, and use these model systems to translate novel findings into means of prevention and treatment for asthma.

Professor von Mutius added: “This type of very large-scale study can only be carried out with International co-operation. We are most fortunate that we are able to carry out the GABRIEL project within Europe, with its wide diversity of environments and genes and its shared scientific heritage.”

Professor Cookson added: “GABRIEL would not be possible without European Community funding. It allows us to draw on the best of asthma and genetic research from many countries. The protective effect of a rural childhood indicates that asthma is a potentially preventable illness. We hope that GABRIEL will lead us to a clearer idea of what we may be able to use to prevent the disease from appearing.”

Tony Stephenson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>