Work­ing to­gether to tackle killer dis­ease Aca­demics and po­lit­i­cans join forces to fight lung con­di­tion

Paisley Daily Express - - Front Page - Ken­neth Speirs

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

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