BWH Asthma Research Center Awarded $2 Million Grant for Gene-based Clinical Trial; participants sought from Partners’ Network

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The Brigham and Women’s Hospital Asthma Research Center (ARC) has received a $2 million Genetics Enters Medicine (GEM) grant from Partners to study the influence of one’s genetic profile on response to asthma therapies and involves examining whether patients with different versions of a receptor for commonly used asthma drugs have a better response to one drug versus another.

“More than one out of six patients have a different version of the receptor we’re focusing on,” said Elliot Israel, principal investigator of the project. The specific drug being examined is a long-acting beta-agonist which is a component of the commonly used drugs Advair® and Symbicort. Studies have found that these drugs improve asthma control in some patients, yet others may not benefit.

Patients will be provided with the equivalent of the drug they are receiving or an alternative, and the study will examine how patients with different versions of the receptor will respond to one treatment versus the other. “Since this is a Partners’ study, we are trying to get the widest participation possible across the Partners’ network” said Elliot Israel, director of the Asthma Research Center.  Dr. Israel and Dr. Michael Wechsler, associate director of the Asthma Research Center, plan to contact almost all physicians using the Longitudinal Medical Record (LMR) to obtain permission to contact their patients.

There are approximately 14,000 patients throughout the Partners’ network who are potentially eligible to participate in the Genotype stratified treatment with Anticholinergic vs. Beta-agonist (Long Acting) and Exacerbations (GABLE) study.  Potential participants will be screened to determine the genetic makeup of their beta-adrenergic receptor and will be prescribed one of the treatment plans. “We’re asking all Partners’ physicians to help us in identifying patients of theirs who might be good candidates for this important research,” said Dr. Israel.

Dr. Wechsler added, “Prescription of current therapies for asthma, including long-acting beta-agonists, is on the rise but may not benefit everyone equally. Our goal is to find an additional therapy that helps those who aren’t helped by the current standard of care.”

To learn more about GABLE and how potential participants can enroll please visit, or call 617-732-8201.