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New Trial to Study Asthma Drug Responses, Genetic Factors in African-Americans

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has launched a multi-site clinical trial to assess how African-Americans with asthma respond to different therapies, and to examine the genetics at play in those responses, NHLBI said today.

The Best African American Response to Asthma Drugs (BARD) study will enroll roughly 500 children and adults at 30 sites in 14 states to research their responses to varying combinations of medications and dosages and how genes may affect those responses.

The trials will look at different doses of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), which reduce inflammation and control asthma over the long term.

The BARD study, which is sponsored by the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, launched early this week and has begun recruiting patients. The 66-week project is a randomized, double-blind study that will examine the efficacy of increasing the dose of ICS treatment in patients who have already been taking low doses. It also will explore the effects of adding a long-acting beta agonist to ICS treatment and delve into whether patient responses differ in children and if they are related to genetics and ancestry.

"While national asthma guidelines provide recommendations for all patients with asthma, it is possible that, compared with other groups, African-Americans respond differently to asthma medications," Michael Wechsler, principle investigator for the study and a professor at National Jewish Health in Denver, said in a statement.

The project is supported by NHLBI's AsthmaNet clinical trials network.