Imperial College London

Asthma could be cured within a generation, say European researchers

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Inhaler and medications for asthma

A cure for asthma could be a generation away if there were more international research collaboration and investment based on recent advances.

This is the conclusion of papers published in the European Respiratory Journal today (World Asthma Day) by Europe’s top asthma experts.

For the first time, scientists from across Europe, working with the pharmaceutical industry (GSK and Novartis) and patient groups, have mapped out all the mechanisms of asthma and assembled a review of current knowledge and a series of recommendations. This is a significant step forward in understanding the many different types of asthma so that a cure can be found for each one. Asthma has for a long time been incorrectly regarded as one condition, regardless of the severity and symptoms. 

Ten years ago we could never have imagined talking about potential cures being so close. Having mapped all the mechanics of asthma we now have a much clearer picture of the research that needs to be done, so that we could be looking at cures for many types of asthma within a generation.

– Professor Sebastian Johnston

National Heart and Lung Institute

The work was done as part of the European Asthma Research and Innovation Partnership (EARIP), a European Commission-funded programme carried out over between 2014 and 2016. Different working groups carried out extensive literature reviews and a series of Europe-wide consultations to develop a comprehensive review of the science and a roadmap of the 15 most important research and development priorities. The researchers believe that if this were to be funded and delivered, deaths could be reduced by 25 per cent within the next 10 years.

Professor Sebastian Johnston, lead author of one of the papers, from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, said: “Ten years ago we could never have imagined talking about potential cures being so close. Having mapped all the mechanics of asthma we now have a much clearer picture of the research that needs to be done, so that we could be looking at cures for many types of asthma within a generation.”

Professor Sven-Erik Dahlén, EARIP partner and Professor of Asthma and Allergy Research at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, said: “For the first time ever, we have a robust, internationally agreed, ambitious roadmap for research, development and innovation that could transform the lives of more than 300 million people who currently have asthma around the world.”

“Asthma is already a global epidemic and it is predicted that prevalence could increase to 400 million by 2025. We are now calling for funders, research commissioners, institutes and industry to adopt the priorities to help achieve our ambitions to eradicate asthma.”

Dr Samantha Walker, co-ordinator of the EARIP project and co-author on three papers, said: “This was an incredibly thorough, comprehensive, scientifically sound project that involved many hundreds of contributors and which was designed to guide European research funding for decades to come. We hope that those who have the power and opportunity to address these priorities will join together to fund and deliver the necessary research to cure and prevent asthma for future generations”. 

Reporter

Ryan O'Hare

Ryan O'Hare
Communications and Public Affairs

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Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 2410
Email: r.ohare@imperial.ac.uk

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Europe, Strategy-share-the-wonder, Asthma, Lung-disease
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