Working together to tackle killer disease Academics and politicans join forces to fight lung condition
15.11.2017 Pa i s l ey academics have joined more than 100 patients, healthcare workers and politicians to tackle a killer disease that claims more than 600,000 lives in the EU every year.
Today is World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day, and a project dubbed BREATH (Border and Regions Airways Training Hub), brings together expert Professor John Lockhart, from the University of Scotland, along with others from the uni, as well as Queen’s University Belfast, and the Dundalk Institute of Technology in Ireland.
The project involves world- class researchers, scientists and clinicians who will address the causes, treatment and potential prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Professor Lockhart said: “COPD is a particular problem is the South West of Scotland, to the surprise of many.
“Together with our Irish partners, BREATH offers a wonderful opportunity to gain new insights into lung disease.
“By better understanding this often ‘ invisible’ killer disease, we hope to develop new and improved treatments – as well as helping prevent COPD by public awareness in the affected regions.
“Deaths from respiratory diseases recently exceeded those from coronary heart disease in Scotland for the first time. Increasingly it is recognised that lung health needs to be made a national priority, as poor public awareness has resulted in an underprioritisation of this disease.”
COPD is now the third biggest killer in the UK.
Although smoking and air pollution remain the key contributing factors, genetic influences and early-life events including infection, poor nutrition and impaired lung growth are now considered important factors responsible for COPD.
It is an incurable respiratory condition characterised by progressive narrowing of the airways and irreversible structural damage leading to breathing difficulties and lung failure.
Throughout the five- year project, more than 30 researchers and doctoral students will work together not only to better understand COPD but to raise awareness of the disease to help encourage preventative measures and timely treatment and disease management.
Team workers Pictured, from left, are the BREATH line-up: Dr Gary Litherland of UWS; Dr Carl Goodyear of the University of Glasgow, who is also an honorary senior research fellow at UWS; Professor John Lockhart of UWS and Dr Anne Crilly of UWS