The past decade has seen notable progress in our understanding of allergic asthma. Despite clear advances in dissecting the molecular and genetic factors that contribute to the asthmatic phenotype, morbidity and mortality from asthma, especially in industrialized nations, is increasing.1–2
However, there is cause for optimism in the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics. The application of techniques in molecular biology, specifically the investigation of the control of gene transcription, has become routine and accessible. With these applications, we have greater understanding of the early steps in the development of the immune response that is central to expression of the asthmatic phenotype.