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More than 500 new genes have been associated with lung function for the first time, helping scientists better understand lung disease.
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The researchers suggest that the findings pave the way for potential new treatments to combat conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.
They also highlight existing drugs that could potentially be repurposed at speed.
The study, led by the University of Leicester and the University of Nottingham, is the largest and most diverse of its kind.
Professor Martin Tobin, of the University of Leicester’s Department of Population Health Sciences, principal investigator of the study, said: “This is a huge leap forward in terms of the population size and ethnic diversity that we have previously been able to study and it is significant for the genetic variants we discovered. There is a big step in the number of.
“Our genetic research findings can be used to generate a personalized risk score that can personalize medicine.
“The risk scores we have developed at this stage make them important tools for further research, but in the future they may help to select which drugs may be most effective for individual patients, and which C drugs should be avoided.”
Lung function tests analyze how well the organs move air in and out of the body.
This is made more difficult by narrowing of the airways in conditions such as asthma and COPD.
Establishing which genes are involved in lung function is important because these genes harbor the proteins that drugs target to prevent or treat disease.
Using a new approach, the study identified 559 new genes involved in lung function with greater confidence than ever before.
Scientists say this is a huge boost as they try to understand which drugs may help improve lung health and which drugs may make it worse.
The study combined genomic information from several research studies around the world as part of the Spirometa Consortium and the CHARGE Consortium.
This provided the researchers with the most ethnically diverse population to conduct their analysis for this type of study.
The study, published in Nature Genetics, was funded by Wellcome and supported by the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Center at Leicester and Nottingham.
Scientists identify more than 500 genes linked to lung function
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