Sequana Asthma
Study Code:AQ
Sample:3824 subjects
Start Date:Oct.1996
Contact:Anjali Henders
More Info:QIMR only


Asthma, hayfever, eczema and associated allergies are amongst the commonest chronic diseases in the developed world. It has been estimated that up to 50% of people in western societies suffer from these conditions. In Australia alone, the health care provision for asthma exceeds $700 million each year.

Genetic factors are known to be important in the development of asthma and allergy. In order to develop new tools and medicines for effective management of affected individuals, it is essential that we fully understand the way in which genes and environment combine in causing these conditions. Furthermore, if we understand how genes and environment interact, we may eventually be able to prevent asthma and allergy from occurring in the first place.

This multi-centre study was funded by Sequana Therapeutics, a US firm based in San Francisco, California. During the course of the study, Sequana Therapeutics merged with Arris Pharmaceuticals to form AxyS Pharmaceuticals.

The clinical centres involved in this study are:

  1. QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, (Brisbane)
  2. TVW Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, (Perth)
  3. Department of Thoracic Medicine, Royal Children's Hospital,(Melbourne)
  4. Institute of Respiratory Medicine, (Sydney)
  5. Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Public Health & Community Medicine, University of Melbourne.

The Study involves:

  1. Completing a questionnaire about respiratory symptoms and family history of asthma and allergy
  2. Attending a clinical assessment of respiratory function and allergic status
  3. Giving a blood sample

Participants were required to satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Have had an episode of asthma or wheezing in their lifetime and are the brother or sister of twins who participated in the 1992 asthma study
  2. Have had an episode of asthma or wheezing in their lifetime and are children of twins who participated in the 1992 asthma study
  3. Twins who participated in the 1992 asthma study who were re-tested for inter-test reliability purposes
  4. The non-twin parent of children described in (2)

Participants under the age of 50 undertook the full range of tests. Participants over the age of 50 were required only to give a blood sample.

Response Rate

Approach letters were sent to 3,824 potential participants. Participants who returned their questionnaires and who were willing to participate were coded for eligibility (see details on eligibility criteria). Eligible participants were contacted by telephone to arrange an appointment for clinical testing and/or the collection of a blood sample. 2,270 people were contacted by telephone and 2,109 of these participated as follows:

  • 1,447 full clinical testing and blood sample
  • 591 blood sample only
  • 57 buccal swab only
  • 8 partial completion
  • 3 blood received, questionnaire not returned
  • 3 questionnaire returned, blood sample not received
  • 161 people refused, resulting in a refusal rate of 7 %.

The balance of 1,554 originally potential participants consists of the following categories:

  • Deceased
  • Returned to sender
  • Overseas
  • Returned incomplete questionnaire (refusal) - unable to ascertain whether participant was eligible or not
  • Unable to attend clinical testing due to geographical distance
  • Lost contact
  • Passive refusal - labmailer and questionnaire sent and never returned
  • Participants who could not be accommodated by testing times
  • Participants who where unable to be tested due to the completion of the study