Throughout May 2018, National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, the NHLBI wishes to recognize Dr. Esteban Burchard and his team on the 20th anniversary of GALA (Genetics of Asthma in Latino Americans), the largest study of asthma in Latino children in the United States.
For the past two decades, researchers involved in the GALA study have painstakingly collected and studied DNA from thousands of people of Latino or African-American descent in a quest to understand why these minority groups make up a disproportionate share of the country’s asthma cases. Recently, an NHLBI-supported research team identified a genetic marker that may help explain why the commonly used asthma drug albuterol is not as effective in Puerto Rican and African-American children compared to other populations. The finding could lead to improved asthma therapies, particularly for racially and ethnically diverse populations, they say.
“Given NHLBI’s commitment to eliminating disparities in asthma outcomes in children, GALA provides a valuable resource for the research community,” said Dr. James Kiley, director of the Division of Lung Diseases at NHLBI. “GALA contributes to the focus NHLBI has had since the mid-1990s to understand the genetics of asthma, particularly in underserved populations.”