Published online: March 4, 2020
Asthma affects over 10% of children in Europe and North America, while it is the commonest non-communicable disease in children even in low- and middle- income countries. The health and quality of life of children suffering with asthma is often significantly affected. As a result, childhood asthma remains a global, public health challenge. Pediatric Asthma in Real Life (PeARL), an international think tank, envisions to improve the care and lives of children suffering from asthma by developing consensus and recommendations to address the most pertinent unmet clinical needs of children with asthma.
In a recent article published by The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Mathioudakis et al. report the results of an extensive survey conducted by the PeARL think tank aiming to identify and prioritize unmet clinical needs in childhood asthma. Numerous unmet clinical needs were identified by international experts in pediatric asthma. Over 400 participants, including caregivers of children with asthma, clinicians, clinical researchers and other stakeholders from 60 countries and 5 continents, prioritized the most pertinent issues that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.(i) Prevention of the progression of asthma, (ii) prediction of the future risk of developing more severe asthma, (iii) prediction of the risk of persistence of asthma into adulthood and (iv) the need for developing effective, personalized treatment strategies, were identified as the most urgent research questions. Responders from low-middle income countries also highlighted the need for identification of the minimum diagnostic criteria, the best treatment by age group and for exploring the cultural perception of asthma.
While different stakeholders agreed in most research and strategic priorities, there were some important discrepancies. These highlight the need for involving a range of stakeholders with global representation in identifying unmet clinical needs. Characteristically, in the survey, caregivers of children with asthma focused more than other stakeholders on the safe and correct use of the available medications and devices. The PeARL think tank is currently undertaking focused systematic reviews and consensus development projects aiming to address the priorities that emerged.
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.