Pathway identified to target for drug development
In one of the most significant breakthroughs in allergic diseases research in recent years, an international group of scientists led by researchers at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center have discovered 291 genes associated with asthma. The Cincinnati Childrens scientists used gene chip analysis to identify these genes they refer to as "asthma signature genes," and they discovered a new and promising pathway involving one particular gene, arginase, to target for drug development.
Prior to this study, which is published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, scientists thought that only a dozen or so genes were implicated in asthma. The discovery that asthma involves the interplay of 291 genes "has tremendous therapeutic and diagnostic implications," says Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD, director of Allergy and Immunology at Cincinnati Childrens and the studys senior author.
"Each gene may represent a target for drug development," says Dr. Rothenberg. "But one gene in particular, arginase, regulates pathways that we think are critical in an asthmatic reaction. Regardless of the specific allergen, arginase seems to be involved. We hope to come up with a treatment for asthma by targeting arginase."
Jim Feuer | EurekAlert!
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