Making the case for asthma research

Dr Samantha Walker explains the need for increased asthma research funding

07 December 2016

By Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy, and Deputy Chief Executive at Asthma + Lung UK.

Despite the fact that the health and social costs of asthma are high and ever-rising, asthma remains under-prioritised in the EU research agenda.

Only a small proportion of the EU’s latest research budget was devoted to asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), around €30m compared to over €163m earmarked for cardiovascular diseases and €618m for brain research.

Historical underfunding belies a major unmet need for new treatments and diagnostics for asthma, which presents an enormous business opportunity for the global health market.

In the UK, the government is keen to make a success of Brexit and has identified life sciences as a key pillar to build a post-EU economy on. As part of his Autumn Statement the UK Chancellor announced an extra £2 billion a year for research and development and a Strategy Challenge Fund to back new technologies.

We need to see some of this funding channelled into asthma research, not least because new technologies such as those highlighted in our Connected Asthma report could transform asthma management and care.

Our European Commission-funded project EARIP identified significant unmet needs around new biomarkers and mechanisms to develop diagnostics, better treatments for severe asthma and better use of technology to help people manage their asthma. We have plenty of work if you have the funds to support us.

Today at the Drug Delivery to the Lungs Conference I will be making the case that asthma research needs more investment. A healthy dose of funding will boost the health of our economy as much as those living with asthma.