John Lima, Pharm.D.

As scientists get closer to decoding the mysteries of genetic variability, they are on the road to a medical researcher's ultimate goal: 'personalized medicine' through which they can predict which medications a patient will respond to based on his or her individual genetic information. For those affected by asthma, this medical leap would have an enormous impact on individual treatment and quality of life.

American Lung Association researcher and pharmacologist John Lima, is examining the relationship among individuals' genetic differences, and how the body responds to those medications. This pharmacogenetic research will have far-reaching implications for treating specific diseases.

"We're riding the crest of research breakthroughs that will affect how we treat not only asthma but other complex chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, hypertension and many others," said Lima, Principal Investigator of the American Lung Association Asthma Clinical Research Center (ACRC) at Nemours Children's Clinic/University of Florida Consortium in Jacksonville. And the results of a recent acrc study published by Dr. Lima are a significant step toward that treatment goal for a class of asthma drugs called leukotriene receptor antagonists.

Lima's recent study, Influence of Leukotriene Pathway Polymorphisms on Response to Montelukast in Asthma, explored the influence on genetic variants on how patients with asthma responded to Montelukast (Singulair®; Merck, Inc), a leukotriene receptor antagonist, and concluded that genetic variability contributes to how patients respond to this class of drugs. Further studies are in progress to replicate these findings.