An international team spearheaded by researchers from the University of Copenhagen has identified the genes that put some children at particularly high risk of serious asthma attacks, including one not previously suspected of being implicated in the disease. In the long term, these new findings are expected to help improve treatment options for the disease, which represents a high cost for families and society alike.
Asthma is the most frequent chronic disease in children and also the most common reason for Danish children being admitted to hospital. Very young children are at especially high risk of severe asthma attacks requiring hospitalisation. This is hard on both child and family and severely strains society's resources. Nonetheless, doctors still have insufficient knowledge about asthma attacks in infants, making the condition difficult to prevent and treat. It is hoped that the recent research findings will help change this. An international team spearheaded by researchers from the University of Copenhagen have now identified the genes that put some children at risk of experiencing severe asthma attacks. The results have been published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Genetics.
"Our results show that asthma attacks requiring young children to be hospitalised are usually genetically related. Genes play a far greater role in children with asthma than in adults. By screening children's DNA we've discovered that a gene called CDHR3, which was previously unassociated with the disease, plays a key role for the development of asthma, particularly in the very early years of life. Our study supports the theory that asthma is not just a single disease, but a complex of several sub-types that should be genetically mapped and understood individually if we are to prevent and treat the disease properly in future," says Klaus Bnnelykke, MD, PhD. He works for the Copenhagen Studies of Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC), the Danish Pediatr
|Contact: Klaus Bønnelykke|
University of Copenhagen