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
World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy