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VNN1 Gene Potentially Useful Biomarker in Childhood Asthma

Linked to efficacy of corticosteroids

THURSDAY, April 23, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they've identified a gene that affects whether children with asthma respond to corticosteroids. The study was published online April 21 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Researchers analyzed the genomes of 57 children with asthma, and found that the activity of a gene called vanin-1 (VNN1) affected whether they were good or poor responders to corticosteroid treatment.

The gene "may serve as a clinically useful biomarker to identify a subset of difficult-to-treat asthmatic children, and targeting the VNN1 pathway may be useful as a therapeutic strategy," senior author Gurjit Khurana Hershey, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Asthma Research Center at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said in a hospital news release.

"Difficult-to-treat patients account for over 50 percent of health care costs associated with asthma," Hershey said. "There are new drugs that may be helpful, as well as those that affect the VNN1 pathway, but they have not been tested in asthma." Over-activity of VNN1 is associated with a number of health problems, including inflammatory bowel disease and lupus, the researchers added.

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