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Not All Asthma is the Same

September 22nd, 2021

Asthma – a lung disease that prevents people from properly breathing – is an extremely common condition that impacts over 300 million people worldwide. The current standard for treatment is corticosteroid administration through an inhaler, but this type of treatment does not work for everyone. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have discovered that not all asthma has the same underlying disease mechanism, a finding that may lead to improvements in treatment options available to asthma patients.


The study recruited 15 people with mild-to-moderate asthma, 19 people with severe asthma, and seven healthy controls. The researchers obtained cells from the participants’ lungs and analyzed their molecular contents using advanced biological techniques. 


Ultimately, the researchers found that the cells of the severe asthma group could be divided into two clusters. Although these clusters had very similar biomarkers, which are used as medical signs to determine the state of a condition, the biological pathways and immune system makeup of the two groups were extremely different.


These findings demonstrate the complex nature of asthma – specifically, a “one size fits all” approach is not appropriate for treating the condition. The research team hopes that their findings can be used to identify new targets for asthma treatments. Additionally, the work may help to more effectively categorize patients with asthma, which could improve the efficiency of current treatments.


Interested in asthma research studies? Visit Pitt+Me.