Advances in AsthmaNew mechanisms, management strategies and treatments

Published December 2011 Updated April 2016 31 lectures
Prof. Peter Barnes
Imperial College London, UK

Asthma is one of the commonest chronic diseases in the world and its prevalence is increasing through the world especially in developing countries. Asthma may affect people of all ages.... read more

There have been major advances in our understanding of the cellular and molecular biology of asthma and the recognition that there are different clinical phenotypes. Although there is a strong genetic predisposition to asthma, it has been difficult to identify genes that have a major influence and many gene variants with small effects have now been identified. It is clear that there are important gene-environment interactions and the role of epigenetics is now an area of major research.

There is great interest in the role of dietary factors in asthma. Inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting β2-agonists are very effective in the majority of patients with asthma and their molecular mechanisms are now much better understood. However, patients with severe asthma remain a management problem and new therapies are needed for this important group of patients. Cigarette smoking worsens asthma and reduces the response to corticosteroids. The molecular mechanisms of corticosteroid resistance in asthma are now being elucidated and this may lead to new therapies in the future.