04 May 2010

All severe asthma is not the same! The speedy development of new therapies for severe asthma to be increased by proving that no one is ‘average’.

BRUSSELS, 4 May 2010 -  One person every6 hours in Europe dies of severe asthma. While mild asthma is usually a controllable disease, some patients with severe asthma suffer greatly and even die from their disease. Yet there are too few new therapies in development for the treatment of severe asthma. Even once a potential new therapy is identified it will take years before it can be brought to market.

Barriers to new treatments

Bringing a new therapy to market has many inherent risks and costs 100s of millions of euros. Unfortunately, often late in the development process, long after much money and time has been spent the new therapy is proven to be of little or no benefit, or even harmful, to some patients.

A new way of doing research

It is now well recognized that some of these failures occur because we take too simplistic a view of asthma. We tend to lump people with asthma together assuming that their disease is the same. Therefore, on average a new therapy does not appear to work. But, what if some of the patients on the therapy do get better? Do we have to settle for old treatments because the ‘average’ patient does not get better?

No! Is the answer you will get from the U-BIOPRED consortium, a group of Researchers, Companies, Patients, and Non-governmental organizations working to redefine severe asthma. Advanced techniques and methods (Systems Biology) that try to fit together the 1000s of genes, proteins, and other molecules are being used to develop an unbiased view of severe asthma in the hope of identifying which types of patients might do better with new therapies. The better we identify different types of asthma, or different types of people with the disease the quicker new treatments can be developed.

Unprecedented collaboration

The U-BIOPRED consortium is unparalleled, as never before have most of the major pharmaceutical companies with an interest in asthma worked together, worked so closely with research and patient organizations, and worked as extensively with new techniques and modeling.

The effort will be to create not a fingerprint, but a handprint that contains patient reported data, clinical measurements, data from laboratory experiments, and thousands of measurements of compounds in the blood sputum, and breathe of patients with severe asthma.

At the end the hope is to have a new definition of severe asthma, and a new way of working together on improving the lives of individuals with asthma.
On May 4th, World Asthma Day U-BIOPRED will be launching its website for the public. There is information for anyone interested in asthma and the new efforts to collaborate in bringing medicines to market faster.

This press release reflects only the author’s views and that neither the IMI JU nor the Commission is liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.

Press release – U-BIOPRED website


U-BIOPRED contact information
Scott Wagers, BioSci Consulting
+32 472 018 914, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Expert in asthma research and U-BIOPRED Coordinator
Peter J. Sterk, MD, PhD, Dept. Respiratory Medicine, F5-259, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam
tel: +31 20 566 8137, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

EFA contact information
Laurène Souchet, Tel : +32 (0)2 227 2712, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Fax : +32 (0)2 218 3141

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