The road to precision medicine in asthma: challenges and opportunities

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For many years, asthma was considered a simple disease of airway obstruction and the focus of its treatment was bronchodilator therapy. As our knowledge of asthma pathophysiology improved, the role of airway inflammation and airway remodeling became evident and anti-inflammatory medications such as inhaled corticosteroids became the mainstay for therapy. However, despite standard-of-care therapy with effective medications, asthma control continues to be suboptimal in approximately 50% of patients, whereas 5–10% of patients have severe asthma that fails to respond to multiple controller therapies [1–3]. Uncontrolled asthma is associated with significant morbidity and mortality and a high socioeconomic burden [4]. These facts have led researchers and clinicians to revisit this common disease to uncover the reasons behind these unmet needs.

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