These current treatment standards are effective for most patients, but according to the Pitt-led scientific team, there’s a lack of clinical markers that can help classify patients who face a likelihood of resistance to treatment.
“Although breakthroughs in asthma therapy have greatly improved our ability to treat patients, many people still continue with disease that greatly diminishes their quality of life,” fellow lead author Dr. Sally Wenzel, director of Pitt’s Asthma and Environmental Lung Health Institute, and chair of Pitt Public Health’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, said in a statement.
Using technology including RNA-sequencing and machine learning, the research team established a unique algorithm that tied together immune cells and cellular pathways that are possibly associated to disease development.
“We have identified two clusters of severe asthma patients with very similar biomarkers but with strikingly distinct immune profiles and associated biological pathways,” senior author Anuradha Ray, Ph.D., professor of medicine and immunology at Pitt said. “These findings identify new targets for therapy, which are distinct in the two subgroups of severe asthma patients who otherwise would be indistinguishable based on biomarker profiles.”
Ray also noted that the team hopes the research can help the creation of new treatments for severe asthma patients “and also allow improved stratification of patients for better efficacy of existing therapies.”