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Asthma is a common medical condition affecting a lot of Filipinos. For many of us, the treatment of an asthma attack is simple: an inhaler or a nebulizer will do the trick. However, there are some unfortunate few who do not respond to such treatment. They suffer longer because their airways are not opening up adequately. Worst, contrary to common notion, such as persistent attack may result in the permanent narrowing of the airways.

Clinical practice guidelines recommend the use of so-called “controllers” for severe or persistent asthma. The most common controllers are corticosteroids, which could be oral (such as prednisone, methylprednisolone, and triamcinolone, beclomethasone, flunisolide, and fluticasone).

The use of steroids for asthma treatment is a double-edged sword. With systemic side effects of oral steroids and the high cost of chronic treatment, the need to treat early with little side effects should be considered. However, even with careful monitoring, not all asthmatics response to steroids. Unfortunately, the alternatives are few, and they are expensive.

With this is consideration, a group of researchers from University of the Philippines Manila headed by Dr. Jody Dalmacion spearheaded a means to look into the clinical and genetic aspects in an attempt to identify asthmatic individuals who are not likely to respond to corticosteroids. By comparing the profiles of uncontrolled, the project aims to come up with a clinically relevant data which can be used to optimize asthma treatment.

The potential novelty impact of this study is the large amount of data that can be generated and integrated, ranging from the traditional clinical parameters to the novel genetic markers and pathways to protein which, in turn, offers opportunities for ideas for novel ways of testing and treating a condition that is common but so complex.

 

Written by:
Dr. Edna E. Liwag and Dr. Godfreda V. Dalmacion
University of the Philippines Manila

Published by:Department of Science and Technology-Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII)

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