Ground-breaking research Centre set to revolutionise asthma care for 5.4m people

Today (May 13) sees the formal launch of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, the UK's first integrated Centre focused solely on improving the quality of life of people with asthma by finding better treatments and making them available faster than ever before.

The Centre is led by Professors Aziz Sheikh and Chris Griffiths, two of the UK’s most talented experts in applied asthma research, is co-ordinated through the University of Edinburgh and Queen Mary, University of London and backed by 13 of the UK’s leading academic and NHS organisations including the University of Aberdeen.

More than 5 million people in the UK are affected by asthma yet research into this life-threatening condition is chronically underfunded, taking an average of 17 years currently to develop a new asthma treatment. Asthma UK’s vision for this pioneering, multidisciplinary research initiative is to halve the time it takes to get innovations to people with asthma and to develop the next generation of world class applied asthma researchers.

Kay Boycott, Asthma UK’s Chief Executive, says: “The introduction into clinical use of the pressurised metered-dose inhaler (pMDI) - the first modern inhaler for asthma management – took over 40 years from initial lab discovery through clinical trials and into practice.

“More than half a century later asthma still kills and there are tens of thousands of people with asthma facing a daily struggle to breathe. This is why it is so vital for Asthma UK to invest significantly in the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research and to kick start a new era of improved discovery-to-treatment times.”

Speaking today, Centre Director Aziz Sheikh says: “The Centre addresses a very real need for collaborative research that can facilitate large-scale trials which have potential to benefit the millions of people affected by asthma. I am delighted that some of the UK’s top asthma researchers are contributing to this unprecedented initiative where they can share expertise and insights to drive forward major improvements in asthma care provision and better outcomes for our patients.”

Centre Co-Director Chris Griffiths says: “The recent National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) reports the urgent need to improve asthma care. The opening of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research is perfectly-timed and marks a significant step forward in delivering world-class applied research to improve asthma care and reduce asthma deaths and hospitalisation in the UK.”

Professor Graham Devereux,  Professor of Respiratory Medicine, University of Aberdeen and Honorary Consultant Physician, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, said: "The  new Centre is an exciting development that can only improve the care of people with asthma, in Aberdeen we are keen to get local people with asthma involved in University research projects."