Press Release

Disclosures: Gaston reports ownership of Airbase Breathing and is a founder of Dilandron.
December 09, 2021
2 min read

Grant fuels research to identify personalized treatments for severe asthma


Press Release

Disclosures: Gaston reports ownership of Airbase Breathing and is a founder of Dilandron.
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The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute awarded a $12 million grant to a group of researchers pursuing personalized therapeutics for severe asthma, according to a press release.

The P01 award will fund research of three prominent mechanisms in severe asthma research — S-nitrosylation signaling, airway pH regulation and androgen signaling — that reportedly serve as indicators for the type of asthma an individual has and may present targets for personalized treatment, according to the release.

“For two of the pathways, we know relevant genes and variants as they relate to asthma — ADH5 and HSD3B1,” Benjamin Gaston, MD, Billie Lou Wood professor of pediatrics and vice chair of translational research in the department of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine and lead researcher of the project, told Healio. “We are studying others, and our clinical trials will help us understand if we can identify responsive patients by genotype.”

According to the release, the $12 million grant will be given to the research group over the next 5 years and will help the researchers build on a decade’s worth of their data. Their goal is to build a stable infrastructure that will enhance the group’s projects based on the three mechanisms.

Benjamin Gaston

“So a patient might come in and maybe they’re not doing well on their current regimen; or they can’t afford the new therapies that are coming out,” Gaston said in the press release. “We would then use that information to decide which if any of the three therapeutic arms would be an ideal fit. We would then treat them based on that information.”

Severe asthma costs Americans an estimated $10 billion in health care costs annually and accounts for most asthma-related deaths, according to the press release. Gaston and his team, which includes researchers from Case Western Reserve University, are hoping their research can bring personalized asthma treatment to patients at a lower cost.

“Many patients with severe asthma are improving with injectable monoclonal antibody treatments, but these are quite expensive, don’t work for everyone and, even when they do work, can be incompletely effective,” Gaston told Healio. “The things we are studying are generally much lower cost.”

But the implications do not stop at lower costs, Gaston said, adding that future research could lead to “personalized, corticosteroid-sparing therapies; use of AI to manage non-severe asthma; and personalized science, innovation and economic principles to manage severe asthma.”

For more information:

Benjamin Gaston, MD, can be reached at