Asthma still kills

Urgent priorities for the international research community to treat, prevent and cure asthma

Asthma UK and Academia Europaea report publish priorities for asthma research

Driving forward the discovery of new treatments for people with asthma

Asthma UK and Academia Europaea, an official advisor to the European Union, have launched a joint report to identify priorities for research to discover new treatments for people with asthma.

Conventional treatments such as inhaled and oral steroids work well for many people with asthma, but about half of people with asthma respond only poorly to these treatments. This is because different underlying triggers and mechanisms are at work in their form of the condition (known as non-T2 asthma), such as air pollution and hormones; these mechanisms are still, unfortunately, not well understood. 

Asthma UK and Academia Europaea are calling for a new, international research effort to better understand the mechanisms in asthma that do not respond to steroids. Our report highlights six priority areas for further research:

  • poor response to steroids for people with severe asthma
  • the role of sex hormones
  • the microbiome
  • the impact of the nervous system
  • air pollution
  • primary prevention in children

Download the report (PDF)

The report summarises a joint Asthma UK/Academia Europaea meeting of European and US respiratory experts in November 2018, concluding with a call for urgent funding to support research into the complex mechanisms that underlie non-T2 asthma and the development of innovative, clinically-effective treatments for people with this unresponsive form of the disease.

How can we realise breakthroughs in asthma research

The report makes the following key recommendations:

  1. Publishing and disseminating a state-of-the-art academic publication on non-T2 asthma.
  2. Establishing a joint task force of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and American Thoracic Society (ATS) to address the need for research into non-T2 asthma.
  3. Working with the ERS Research Agency to create innovative multidisciplinary consortia to advance our understanding of asthma.
  4. Developing a call topic for the Innovative Medicines Initiative to identify different types of non-T2 asthma and new drug targets.
  5. Establishing transnational collaborations to ensure that non-T2 asthma research progresses through the pooling of knowledge and infrastructure.
  6. Applying artificial intelligence to analyse complex datasets to allow learning from other disease areas that is applicable to non-T2 asthma.

Please read our report for more information on how we can achieve a breakthrough for people who respond poorly to steroids and if you have ideas on how to help us to realise this vision, please contact policy@asthma.org.uk.