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Clinical Trials in Asthma

Respiratory physicians are buzzing about the number of new asthma drugs being developed by a variety of pharmaceutical companies. This is good news for approximately 155 million people worldwide who are affected by the disease. The prevalence of asthma is increasing, generally thought to be associated with spreading urbanisation and exposure to respiratory toxins - including domestic mites, vehicle exhaust and passive smoking.

Asthma is caused by both host risk factors and environmental risk factors. Host factors include genetic predisposition, atopy, airway hyper-responsiveness, gender, race and ethnicity. Environmental factors which increase susceptibility include indoor and outdoor allergens, tobacco smoke, air pollution, respiratory infections - especially viral disease, family size, diet, drugs, obesity and family pets. Recently there has been much research into asthma but the balance between nature, nurture and the changing environment remains poorly understood. We have a long way to go, but there are the beginnings of new therapies for asthma which offer hope for the future.


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By Dr Alan Davies, Therapeutic Director for Kendle International Inc

Dr Alan Davies qualified at the London Hospital Medical College, obtaining an MB BS in 1975 and an MRCP in 1979. Dr Davies has more than 20 years' experience in drug and device development. He has worked as a University Lecturer in the Medical Schools of Adelaide in Australia, and Manchester and Bristol in the UK. He was awarded an MD in 1988 for his original work on microvascular disease and glycaemic control in children with insulin-dependant diabetes mellitus. Dr Davies joined Novo Laboratories in 1988 and became Head of Clinical Research for Fujisawa GmbH, Munich in the 1990s. Since 2000 he has been Therapeutic Director for Kendle International Inc, one of the world's largest contract research organisations.

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Dr Alan Davies
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