The cure for asthma exists.
Yet, each and every day 35,000 people suffer an asthma attack somewhere in the U.S. and 10 of them will not be alive the next morning. If we know how to cure asthma, why are so many people still ending up in the emergency room?
The short answer is: Because they don’t receive the treatment that works for them. Clinicians have to rely on a frustrating “prescribe and hope” approach until they find the right drug or drug combination that successfully controls a patient’s symptoms.
Together for Asthma is dedicated to enabling doctors to skip the guessing game and get it right the first time. We believe that the cure for asthma exists, and we now find ourselves in a time of opportunity; where patient data, advances in technology, and approved therapies can converge to finally provide patients with the proper treatment they deserve.
The immune system is the biggest source of human genetic variation. This diversity not only allows us to thrive in a world of constantly changing immune challenges but our personal immunogenomics profile is also what makes each one of us unique: how we react to microbes and potential allergens; whether we develop autoimmune disease or chronic inflammation and how we respond to treatments.
What’s our goal?
We want to change the effectiveness of currently available asthma treatments from 33% to 100%, effectively curing asthma. Our plan is based on a three-pronged approach: the creation of an immunogenomics lab, smart clinical trials and a close working relationship with clinicians to improve patient care.
The Immunogenomics laboratory will perform micro-scale genomic assays on actual asthma patients. The resulting data combined with clinical outcomes will be used to establish an extensive and multi-dimensional platform to inform asthma treatment choices.
Simultaneously, smart clinical trials will use an iterative process to adapt treatments based on patient responses while the trial is still ongoing. With each added data set the platform will become more powerful, and over time, allow clinicians to match asthma patients with the most effective treatment.
An opportunity to tilt the lever
We are grateful to have a new generation of philanthropic leaders who are able to take on significant and complex challenges that have the potential to change the course of health care for generations to come. These new leaders understand that their generosity could optimally be structured in a way that can leverage the support of traditional competitive research funding provided by the federal government, and tilt what we can accomplish in a significant and audacious way. Current federal funding for our efforts in asthma are over $12M, but like any government investment, that has been spread out over 6 years. In order to properly leverage those funds and push our bold plan faster and further, we are in need of an additional private commitment of $20M over five years. For this this critical investment, we are offering that visionary philanthropist the opportunity to link his or her name to this important work in perpetuity and as a result, even to the “cure” for asthma itself.
Together for Asthma
Together for Asthma is a groundbreaking partnership between the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI), the University of California San Diego Health and the University of Southampton (UK). These three great organizations have formed a multi-disciplinary team that is dedicated to understanding, treating, and ultimately solving the problem of asthma. By having these world-class organizations all working in sync on this effort, we are able to execute on all three prongs of our approach and finally deliver effective treatments to patients across the world.
La Jolla Institute for Immunology
Since its inception 30 years ago, La Jolla Institute has solely dedicated itself to understanding the far-reaching power of the immune system. As our understanding of immunology advances, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the future of human health depends on how well we can harness the power of our immune system to fight infection and disease, and put it back on course when it strays.
Pandurangan “Vijay” Vijayanand, M.D. Ph.D.
Pandurangan “Vijay” Vijayanand, M.D. Ph.D., is the scientific director of the Center for Asthma Prevention and Treatment and is the William K. Bowes Distinguished Professor at LJI. While his main focus is fundamental research within the lab, he also maintains clinical operations and sees patients regularly. Vijay has established large funded projects with the National Institutes of Health to study asthma as well as a project to map “normal” human immune cells that will ultimately help us understand epigenetic variations. He is passionate about solving asthma and bringing that solution to the public.
NIH PrecISE Network
Together for Asthma is one of ten national centers part of the PrecISE (short for Precision Interventions for Severe and/or Exacerbation Prone Asthma) Network. The initiative is funded through a $6.9M grant by the National Institutes of Health to advance precision medicine for patients with severe and exacerbation-prone asthma. It brings together patients, clinicians and researchers to accelerate the development of individualized asthma treatments based on patient-specific disease markers. Starting in late 2018, the PrecISE Clinical Center will begin recruiting asthma patients in an effort to collectively enroll 1,000 patients in the nationwide PrecISE clinical trial.