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New study seeks to improve asthma therapy for African-Americans

2/21/2014, 8:05 a.m.

Emory University School of Medicine and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta are lead recruiters for The Best African American Response to Asthma Drugs study that seeks to improve asthma therapy for African-Americans.

The multicenter trial will assess different drug regimens and explore genetics of treatment response.

Nationally, researchers will enroll about 500 African-American children and adults who have asthma in the new clinical trial, which will take place at 30 sites in 14 states.

It is aimed at understanding the best approach to asthma management in African-Americans, who suffer much higher rates of serious asthma attacks, hospitalizations, and asthma-related deaths than whites.

The new National Institutes of Health study is under the auspices of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Gary H. Gibbons, director of the NHLBI, said the large-scale clinical effort is expected to provide new insights into how health care professionals can better manage asthma in African-Americans to improve outcomes.

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Anne M. Fitzpatrick

Anne M. Fitzpatrick, Emory’s director of the Asthma Clinical Research Program, is the site principal investigator of the clinical trial at Emory and Children’s Healthcare.

“There is conflicting evidence that the clinical ‘response’ to common asthma treatments may differ across racial groups,” said Fitzpatrick, who is also an assistant professor of pediatrics in Emory School of Medicine. “This study will help us determine whether differences do exist, and if so, what the best treatment may be for African-Americans.”

The study will examine the effectiveness of different doses of inhaled corticosteroids used with or without the addition of a long-acting beta agonist. Inhaled corticosteroids reduce inflammation and help control asthma in the long term. It will compare multiple combinations of medications and dosing regimens to assess the response to therapy and track whether children and adults respond similarly to the same treatment. It will also evaluate how genes may affect treatment response.

The BARD study began enrolling patients on Feb. 10.

People interested in participating can contact Jennifer Dodds, the lead Emory study coordinator, at jcdodds@emory.edu or 404-727-5176. For more information, visit http://asthmanetresearch.org.