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NIH Study Evaluates Asthma Therapies for African-Americans

Researchers explore genetics of treatment response (February 12)

Researchers will enroll approximately 500 African-American children and adults who have asthma in a multicenter clinical trial to assess how they react to therapies and to explore the role of genetics in determining the response to asthma treatment.

The new clinical study, which will take place at 30 sites in 14 states, is aimed at understanding the best approach to asthma management in African-Americans, who experience much higher rates of serious asthma attacks, hospitalizations, and asthma-related deaths compared with Caucasians.

The Best African-American Response to Asthma Drugs (BARD) study is being conducted under the auspices of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“This large-scale clinical effort is expected to provide new insights into how health care professionals can better manage asthma in African-Americans to improve outcomes,” said Gary H. Gibbons, MD, director of the NHLBI.

The BARD study will examine the effectiveness of different doses of inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) used with or without the addition of a long-acting beta agonist (LABA). ICSs reduce inflammation and help control asthma in the long term. LABAs relax constricted airway muscles.

The study will compare multiple combinations of medications and dosing regimens to assess the response to therapy. It will also track whether African-American children and adults respond similarly to the same treatment, and will evaluate how genes may affect treatment response.

Source: NIH; February 12, 2014.

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