A genetic biomarker is described as a known DNA sequence that causes disease or is associated with susceptibility to disease. Using genetic biomarkers to predict the severity of asthma for a person as well as how that person is likely to respond to treatment would tremendously improve our ability to manage the disease for that patient. Precision health is about prescribing an individual patient with the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time. This would allow for earlier intervention and the increased potential to slow progression.
Complex diseases like asthma are the result of a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors. For example, familial history, premature birth, history of respiratory infections (viral and bacterial), allergies, obesity, and environmental exposures such as dust, mould, and maternal smoking3. Although asthma is a heterogeneous disorder, a strong genetic basis has been firmly established. There have been efforts to understand the role of genetics in asthma for many years such as genome-wide association studies (GWAS) which have identified several gene variants (changes) that are associated with asthma.
Asthma is mainly managed through a combination of controller medication and reliever medication. Controller medication such as inhaled corticosteroids reduces the inflammation of the airways over time and lowers the risk of a severe attack occurring. It does not provide any instant relief of symptoms but builds up protection and reduces symptoms over a longer period. Reliever inhalers such as Beta 2 agonists can be taken as soon as asthma symptoms appear. They work quickly by opening the airways wider and making it easier to breathe again.
Most people with asthma can manage their symptoms well with the usual medicines like a preventer inhaler and a reliever inhaler. However, people with severe or therapy-resistant asthma require treatment with high dose inhaled corticosteroids plus a second controller and/or systemic corticosteroids to prevent asthma from becoming ‘‘uncontrolled’’. Add-on therapies may be required for asthma which remains ‘‘uncontrolled’’ despite the use of high dose corticosteroids2.
Asthma is a complex respiratory disease, characterized by chronic airway inflammation. Symptom severity, frequency and response to treatment vary from person to person. Asthma is classified based on respiratory symptoms such as wheeze, shortness of breath, chest tightness and/or cough and by airflow limitation.
News, information, and education. You can unsubscribe at anytime.