News story

Better, faster, more personalised asthma treatment

3 projects funded through a collaboration between Innovate UK and Asthma UK will help ensure asthma patients receive better treatment.

Doctor providing patient with asthma inhaler

The 3 collaborations will look to improve asthma treatment options.

Although 5.4 million people in the UK are affected by asthma, diagnosing the condition is difficult. Current testing often leads to misdiagnosis and diagnosing pre-school children is particularly challenging.

In a series of 3-year projects in Manchester, Edinburgh and Portsmouth, collaborations between academics and innovative businesses will lead to vastly improved treatment options.

Improving asthma services

With each project set to receive more than £200,000, it is expected that patients will see an improvement in services thanks to new diagnostic testing that better predicts response to treatment.

The projects will also provide doctors with improved decision support systems, reducing workload for GPs and leading to more personalised treatment.

The 3 collaborative projects are:

University of Manchester and Owlstone Medical

This partnership will develop new tests for diagnosis. It will look at the small airways in the lungs to assess treatment response. The aim is to reduce the number of people that are wrongly diagnosed and are taking unnecessary medication.

University of Edinburgh and Tactuum

This project will design a new clinical decision support system to help medical professionals diagnose asthma. Assessments of the patient will improve with the intention that it will lead to more personalised treatment plans.

Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth & Cambridge and Respiratory Innovations

In order to speed up the journey to diagnosis – and reduce costs in doing so – this project will test a new device that measures gases in exhaled breath to quickly diagnose asthma.

Partnership to improve health and wellbeing

The funding will tackle a serious health challenge and aims to improve the lives of the millions of people in the UK with asthma.

The partnership between Asthma UK – the leading UK asthma research charity – and Innovate UK will see academic researchers and innovative businesses partner together to meet the goals of the charity. It also supports the UK’s economy and development in the medical field.

Dr Kath Mackay, Interim Director Ageing Society, Health & Nutrition at Innovate UK said:

Many of us either are or know asthma sufferers, so are only too aware of the pressing need for better diagnosis and improved, personalised treatments.

By choosing to work in partnership with leading charities such as Asthma UK, we can connect businesses to the resources that the charities may have. This can be access to patients, new ideas and the ability to generate real world evidence.

Dr Erika Kennington, Head of Research at Asthma UK, added:

Diagnosing asthma can be extremely difficult and this is mainly because there is a lack of definitive diagnostic tools.

We look forward to seeing the outcomes of these research projects and hope that improved and faster diagnosis could mean people with asthma can then get faster access to treatments and care.

Published 26 February 2019