• Glenn Hearson

PRISM: Molecular phenotyping of severe asthma patients to determine response to biologic therapies

Updated: Oct 14

We will shortly be commencing this important collaborative asthma research funded by a £2.3 million grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC).


PRISM: Molecular phenotyping of patients with severe asthma to determine response to biologic therapies and stability"







The investigator leading the study at Nottingham is Professor Dominick Shaw from the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre and the University of Nottingham. The study is being delivered at Nottingham by lead Clinical Research Officer is Lucy Howard along with Clinical Research Fellows Dr Saher Sultan and Dr Queenie Pang.


Why is the study being done?

Severe asthma is a condition that is affecting you because your symptoms and attacks are not completely controlled by the currently-available medications for asthma. You may also be taking a daily dose of oral corticosteroids in order to control their symptoms and attacks of asthma.


You may be qualified for receiving a new type of treatment called biologics or antibody treatments usually given by injections if your tests meet certain exact criteria.

One of the important improvements in our understanding of your condition has been the realisation that severe asthma may come in different types which we call ‘phenotypes’.


In fact, the biologic or antibody treatments are only provided for one particular phenotype of severe asthma, usually called eosinophilic severe asthma or allergic severe asthma, because only patients with these phenotypes of severe asthma will observe an improvement of their asthma.


Another important advance in our understanding of severe asthma is that by measuring the genes and proteins that are present in people with severe asthma, it is possible to even further divide patients into separate phenotypes. This process is called ‘molecular phenotyping’.


Using this new way of dividing patients with severe asthma into these groups should allow us to get an even better idea of what types of treatments will work best for each of these phenotypes. So, by doing these measurements of genes and proteins, one could get a better idea of what is actually causing your asthma symptoms and attacks.


Therefore, in this research study, we would wish to measure genes and proteins from various specimens including sputum, blood, nose, urine and breath over a period of a year to measure your ‘molecular phenotype’.


From this we wish to see whether:

(i) this molecular phenotype changes or remains the same during this time and whether

(ii) the molecular phenotype can predict how your asthma will change or not during the time we will be observing you.


Finally, we will see what your molecular phenotype can tell us about the types of treatments that might be beneficial for your severe asthma.

The study Chief Investigator is Professor K F Chung from Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust & National Heart and Lung Institute.


For more information contact: Lucy Howard


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