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Queen Mary University of London launches ground-breaking asthma research centre

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), along with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh and the charity Asthma UK, have today launched the UK’s first integrated Centre focused solely on improving the quality of life of people with asthma.

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The Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research aims to find better treatments and make them available faster than ever before. Led by Professor Chris Griffiths from QMUL and Professor Aziz Sheikh from Edinburgh, the Centre is backed by 13 of the UK’s leading academic and NHS organisations.

More than 5 million people in the UK are affected by asthma yet research into this life-threatening condition is chronically underfunded. It currently takes an average of 17 years to develop a new asthma treatment.

The 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.

Professor Chris Griffiths, Centre Co-Director, Queen Mary University of London, comments: "The recent National Report on Asthma Deaths (NRAD) Report confirms the urgent need to improve asthma care. The opening of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research is an exciting collaboration which brings together many of the best asthma researchers in the UK. The new centre marks a significant step forward in delivering world-class applied research to improve asthma care and reduce E asthma deaths and hospitalisation in the UK."

Jonathan Grigg, Professor of Paediatric Respiratory and Environmental Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, comments: "The new Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research will enable us to study some of the most crucial areas of asthma over the next five years, such as improving asthma control, reducing asthma attacks and maximising the benefit of medication. Queen Mary has a wealth of expertise in delivering major trials, and translating basic science as a practical application to enhance health and well-being. We are confident we can make a significant contribution to asthma research in the coming years.”

Kay Boycott, Asthma UK’s Chief Executive, comments: “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.”

Professor Aziz Sheikh, Centre Co-Director, University of Edinburgh, comments: “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.”

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