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Novel translational approaches to the search for precision therapies for acute respiratory distress syndrome


In the 50 years since acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) was first described, substantial progress has been made in identifying the risk factors for and the pathogenic contributors to the syndrome and in characterising the protein expression patterns in plasma and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from patients with ARDS. Despite this effort, however, pharmacological options for ARDS remain scarce. Frequently cited reasons for this absence of specific drug therapies include the heterogeneity of patients with ARDS, the potential for a differential response to drugs, and the possibility that the wrong targets have been studied. Advances in applied biomolecular technology and bioinformatics have enabled breakthroughs for other complex traits, such as cardiovascular disease or asthma, particularly when a precision medicine paradigm, wherein a biomarker or gene expression pattern indicates a patient's likelihood of responding to a treatment, has been pursued. In this Review, we consider the biological and analytical techniques that could facilitate a precision medicine approach for ARDS.

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