A research team led by Dr Somnath Mukhopadhyay, Professor Brian Lipworth and Dr Colin Palmer, has found that a specific genetic variant, known as the Arg/Arg-16 variant, causes salmeterol to be ineffective.
Their research shows that while most patients on salmeterol have their asthma well controlled, those with the Arg/Arg-16 variant have almost double the number of asthma attacks compared to those with the other forms of this gene.
Future research will determine if genetic testing for the Arg/Arg 16 variant should be used in deciding routine asthma prescribing. This is a first step in the path to "personalized medicine" where genetic information will lead to the more effective use of drugs.
"It was apparent that some patients with asthma could be failing to respond to inhaled salmeterol, but we have identified a likely cause for this that is linked to this genetic status," said Dr Mukhopadhyay, of the Children’s Asthma and Allergy Research Unit at the University.
"Where this discovery takes us is towards more personalised asthma treatment, where we can identify which medicines can be used or avoided depending on an individual’s genetic profile and we can ensure the best possible treatment."
The Arg/Arg-16 variant genetic status is reasonably common and it is present in around 13% of young people with asthma in Tayside. The Dundee team studied 546 children and adolescents with asthma in Tayside.
The findings follow studies in America where the US Food and Drug Administration, the principal food and drug regulatory organisation in the United States, has previously warned in November 2005 that salmeterol was not effective in certain individuals, especially African Americans, although the genetic status of these individuals was not studied.
Salmeterol is part of a group of drugs known as beta-agonists, and is widely prescribed within the National Health Service to patients with asthma who fail to respond well to inhaled steroids.
There are 5.2 million people in the UK currently receiving various forms of asthma treatment, and an estimated 675,000 within this population carry the Arg/Arg-16 gene variation and therefore may not benefit from salmeterol treatment.
There are other drugs that can be used as alternative treatments in these individuals.
Although genetic testing is not performed through the NHS, it is important to note that the patients who are put on salmeterol should monitor if the medicine is working or not. If asthma is still poorly controlled on salmeterol, then alternatives, rather than additional treatments, may be more useful.
The results are published today by the leading chest medical journal Thorax, published by the British Thoracic Society and the BMJ Publishing Group.
Roddy Isles | alfa
Improving memory with magnets
28.03.2017 | McGill University
Graphene-based neural probes probe brain activity in high resolution
28.03.2017 | Graphene Flagship
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy