Illumina, Inc. has announced an agreement with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in collaboration with researchers at the National Human Genome Center at Howard University, to utilize the Infinium® HumanHap650Y BeadChip for an asthma study of over 2,000 individuals and their families.
The study will be led by Dr. Kathleen Barnes of Johns Hopkins and is supported by a recent grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Study subjects involve African-American volunteers from the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area, and African-Caribbean volunteers and their family members from Barbados.
"The identification of genes that contribute to a complex disease like asthma may lead to the development of enhanced diagnostic tools, early detection and improved health outcomes for patients and their families," said Jay Flatley, Illumina President and Chief Executive Officer.
"By using Illumina's HumanHap650Y BeadChip, which is specifically designed for the study of African populations, a unique opportunity exists to dramatically improve our understanding of the causes of asthma."
Although a number of genetic studies have been conducted for asthma, and several genes that are strongly associated with asthma have been identified, there has not been a systematic study looking at all of the possible genes in the human genome for asthma in this particular racial group.
Findings from this study will be compared to results from a similar project at the NHLBI in London, where a large genome-wide scan of English asthmatics and their families is already underway. Additional comparisons will be made with European American asthmatics that are part of ongoing genetic epidemiology studies at the Yale University School of Medicine.