There is no test at all for children under the age of five. This is a situation that is not good enough for other diseases, why should it be good enough for those living with asthma?
What is the issue?
Current tests are inaccurate and this stops effective diagnosis and effective management of asthma. The more we learn about asthma, the more complicated the picture becomes. We need better identification of biomarkers and phenotypes. A deeper understanding of what activates the different types of asthma can extend our ability to tackle the devastating effect of this disease and stop asthma attacks.
When we have a better way of diagnosing asthma we can develop better and more effective drugs with fewer side effects and easier ways of taking it. A better understanding of asthma biomarkers and phenotypes means a world where fewer people will die of asthma.
What are we suggesting?
More research into diagnostics will let us further explore the different types of asthma. It will tell us which cells and genes lead to different types of asthma and what the causes are. With this information, we can develop new drugs that will target the different types of asthma and help us develop ways for people to manage their condition effectively.
We call on funders and industry to fund more research into diagnostics and phenotyping to support the development of better tests and treatments. Asthma UK, as part of the EU Commission funded European Asthma Research and Innovation Partnership (EARIP) has produced a roadmap for asthma research in which diagnostics and phenotyping are key.
The EARIP project brought together world-leading asthma experts to identify the areas of unmet need that require focus and investment to reduce asthma attacks, hospitalisations and deaths. The roadmap that they produced represents a blueprint for the development of new treatments, health technologies and an eventual cure for asthma. We urge funders and academics to adopt it.
What is Asthma UK doing?
Asthma UK is campaigning for more investment into asthma research to find out more about the underlying causes and help cure asthma.
Despite decades of pioneering research, asthma often goes undiagnosed or is mistaken for another condition, causing confusion and anxiety for people with asthma and the parents of children with asthma. This is not good enough in other diseases and isn’t good enough for asthma.
In July 2017, Asthma UK, in partnership with Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network, held an event with the aim of forming research collaborations to tackle this problem. It brought together one hundred diagnostics experts from across Europe. Prominent scientists from the NHS, the Department of Health and the University of Oxford spoke about the importance of asthma diagnosis and its role in being able to personalise asthma treatment through better diagnosis.
- Dr Duncan Keeley, University of Oxford: Asthma diagnosis in primary care and the need for change
- Dr Louise Wood, Department of Health: 21st-century health: Research to support personalised medicine
- Dr Sheuli Porkess, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry: The importance of diagnostics for medicines development
- Professor Sue Hill, NHS England: The NHS approach to personalised medicine in respiratory disease
- Predicting future asthma in preschool children
- Identification and development of new biological markers of asthma as a tool for diagnosis and/or monitoring
- Development of a low-cost, accurate asthma diagnostic test that improves diagnosis in primary care
- Ensuring successful real-world adoption of new diagnostic tools; taking a patient-centric approach to research and development
What can you do?
Asthma UK is campaigning for more research into asthma diagnostics. We need this to see more breakthroughs in new tests and treatments and for less people to die of asthma attacks.