Children are more susceptible to developing allergic asthma than adults. An estimated 6 million children have allergic asthma, making asthma one of the most common long-term diseases of childhood. Asthma is potentially life-threatening, yet there is no cure, rather only management of symptoms. Progress in understanding the disease was reported in the Dec 17, 2019, issue of Immunity.
Birth defects in mitochondrial genes can lead to devastating pediatric disorders with death within a year of birth, and when the dysfunction is milder it can lead to various types of degenerative conditions, including neurodegeneration.
Three new studies conducted as part of the second phase of the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) could lead to improvements in the risk prediction, identification and classification of the conditions they are investigating.
In a first, researchers were able to use a genetically modified specific lytic phage strain to stop an otherwise generally lethal drug-resistant Mycobacterium abscessus infection in a cystic fibrosis patient after persistent infections, as reported in the May 8, 2019, issue of Nature Medicine.
In utero administration of a gene-editing technology in a mouse model has been able to correct a mutation that causes fatal respiratory failure in the animals within hours of birth if left untreated. For now, the work is proof of concept, and survival rates in treated animals remained low. But the fact that prenatal gene editing was able to prevent an otherwise lethal disease at all has encouraging implications.