Researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have uncovered a gene called DENND1B, which increases the risk of childhood asthma. The finding promises to be a harbinger to new treatments for the respiratory disease.
An earlier study from the UK had homed in on an asthma-susceptibility gene ORMDL3, which was found on chromosome 17. In this study the researchers worked with a sample of 793 white North American children with persistent asthma. They used the genome-wide association study (GWAS) and compared this sample with a control group of 1,988 children.
Similar results were found in a sample of 2,400 European children and 3,700 African American children.
"By analyzing a large cohort of children with moderate to severe asthma, all of whom require controller medications on a regular basis, we managed to enrich our study for genetic signals and achieve sufficient statistical power to uncover and replicate a novel asthma gene," said lead researcher Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The details are due to appear in the January 2010 issue of New England Journal of Medicine.