Last updated on June 2019

Refractory Asthma Stratification Programme (RASP) Bronchoscopy Study


Brief description of study

The Investigators hypothesise that asthma is not a single disease, but a syndrome resulting from several distinct underlying disease processes known as endotypes. There are approximately 30,000 genes in humans, and each gene is responsible for the production of a particular protein. Using a technique called "whole genome expression profiling" The Investigators have undertaken a small study looking at the activity of all 30,000 genes in the airway tissue of people with asthma. This work has identified 3 mutually exclusive distinct molecular patterns (endotypes) of severe asthma and has identified other potentially important molecular targets (manuscripts in preparation). In particular,the Investigators have found that 25-50% of patients have asthma associated with the activity of proteins called Th2 cytokines (Th2-high asthma). New treatments are in development that target this pathway. However, the Investigators do not know what is driving severe asthma in patients who do not express these Th2 cytokines. The aim of this study is to investigate in more detail the molecular mechanisms driving severe asthma in patients who do not express Th2 cytokines (Th2-low asthma), so that the Investigators can identify new targets for treatment in this group. To do this the Investigators will collect airway tissue via a telescope (bronchoscope), and analyse gene and protein expression in the tissue. The Investigators will then compare the molecular activity between patients with Th2-high and Th2-low asthma, and healthy control subjects (data obtained from a parallel study).

Detailed Study Description

Asthma is a very common disorder which causes a great deal of distress for patients, and occasionally results in premature death. Approximately 10% of people with asthma have severe disease which is not helped by current treatments The Investigators need to find new treatments for these patients urgently. Patients with asthma are not all the same, but have distinct features which characterise their asthma.The Investigators therefore hypothesise that asthma is not a single disease, but a syndrome resulting from several distinct underlying disease processes known as endotypes. There are approximately 30,000 genes in humans, and each gene is responsible for the production of a particular protein. Using a technique called "whole genome expression profiling" The Investigators have undertaken a small study looking at the activity of all 30,000 genes in the airway tissue of people with asthma. This work has identified 3 mutually exclusive distinct molecular patterns (endotypes) of severe asthma and has identified other potentially important molecular targets (manuscripts in preparation).

In particular, the Investigators have found that 25-50% of patients have asthma associated with the activity of proteins called Th2 cytokines (Th2-high asthma). New treatments are in development that target this pathway. However, the Investigators do not know what is driving severe asthma in patients who do not express these Th2 cytokines. The aim of this study is to investigate in more detail the molecular mechanisms driving severe asthma in patients who do not express Th2 cytokines (Th2-low asthma), so that the Investigators can identify new targets for treatment in this group. To do this the Investigators will collect airway tissue via a telescope (bronchoscope), and analyse gene and protein expression in the tissue. The Investigators will then compare the molecular activity between patients with Th2-high and Th2-low asthma, and healthy control subjects (data obtained from a parallel study).

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02883530

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