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Let the children roam free

A scientist supported by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship has found new evidence that a specific "asthma gene" is a cause of the respiratory condition in children.

The young German scientist, Michaela Schedel, believes that her findings could change our understanding of childhood asthma and lead to new treatments for the potentially fatal condition, which affects 100 million people in Europe and three times as many worldwide.

"We have convincing evidence that a specific gene is involved in the development of asthma in children," said 33-year-old Schedel, who carried out her initial research at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich and later working with a team under Professor Dr. Michael Kabesch, a leading expert in allergy genetics at Hannover Medical School.

"We have a first hint on the causal relationship between this gene, present on chromosome 17, and the development of asthma, a sickness that can be treated but for which there is no cure yet," the scientist explained.

Schedel hopes that her findings could lead to the development of innovative preventive and therapeutic strategies, which could ultimately bring a cure to the condition which causes a narrowing of the airways to the lungs.

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