Research constantly uncovers new links between epigenetics and disease. Recently a Harvard PhD, Dr. Liming Liang released findings linking about 30 different methylated genes to asthma risk. Medicine has long recognized a link between a type of immune cell called an eosinophil with asthma and other allergic diseases. Some very expensive drugs were developed, hoping to target this connection, but the response is moderate. Not all patients respond greatly to these targeted drugs and those that do respond, don’t always have a big response.
This research hoped to find epigenetic markers that might help physicians separate out those that would have a better chance of responding well to these therapies or possibly develop new therapies. They looked at 27,000 genes and found 36 locations in 34 genes where differences in methylation linked with levels of Immunoglobin E, a type of antibody that works with eosinophils in asthma.
This research has a long way to go before it can be used in the clinical setting caring for patients, but the complexity of God’s highest creation continues to astound. We are truly made from the dust of the earth and our environment continues to affect how our bodies develop diseases.