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EU Grants $16M for Asthma Genomics Programs

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The EU has granted €11.3 million ($16.1 million) to support an international genomics research project to identify the genetic and environmental causes of asthma.

The studies, coordinated by Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine at Imperial College, London, will extend a resource of 40,000 severe asthmatic subjects in order to conduct genomic and proteomic analyses.

The research program, called GABRIEL, will comprehensively screen candidate genes and perform whole-genome association studies to identify all of the important genetic influences on asthma.

The multidisciplinary program will use researchers at a number of European institutions that will use knowledge of epidemiology, genetics, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, statistics, environmental ecology, and immunology.

The consortium will systematically study rural farming environments because microbial exposures in these environments result in a dramatic reduction in the development of asthma, which suggests that tools to prevent the disease may be developed. The goal is to identify cellular and genomic models to identify the molecular mechanisms of protective environments in order to develop screens for novel therapeutics that will eventually be commercialized.

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