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New "asthma gene" could lead to new therapies


A gene that is strongly associated with a risk of developing childhood onset asthma was identified by an international team of scientists, whose findings are published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

In a genetic study of more than 2,000 children, scientists from the University of Michigan and colleagues from London, France and Germany found genetic markers that dramatically increase a child's risk for asthma.

These markers are located on chromosome 17, and children with this marker had higher levels of a new gene called ORMDL3 in their blood, which occurs in higher amounts in children with asthma. The presence of the disease-associated version of ORMDL3 increases the risk of asthma by 60-70 percent, the study suggests.

"In terms of an asthma gene, there have been quite a few reports but not one that can be clearly reproduced in samples," said Goncalo Abecasis from University of Michigan School of Public Health.
"I think eventually it will lead to new therapies because it points to a specific biological molecular pathway. Once we understand the biology and we know the players, it's possible to target with specific drugs."

Sourse - Xinhua

| Tags: Allergy, Asthma, Children's Health |

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