Asthma still kills

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

Driving forward the discovery of new treatments for people with asthma

Asthma can have a huge impact on people’s lives, causing repeated hospital visits and sometimes death. While conventional treatments such as inhaled and oral steroids work well for many people with asthma, around half of people with asthma respond poorly to these treatments. 

This is because different underlying triggers and mechanisms, such as air pollution and hormones, are at work in their type of asthma – known as non-T2 asthma. However, the mechanisms that cause non-T2 asthma are still, unfortunately, not well understood. 

We wanted to change this and have released a joint report with Academia Europaea – an official advisor to the European Union – that calls for urgent research to discover new treatments for people with asthma.

Asthma still kills

Dr Samantha Walker and Krisnah Poinasamy from Asthma UK introduce our new report.

Video: Asthma still kills

Dr Samantha Walker and Krisnah Poinasamy from Asthma UK introduce our new report.

We are calling for a new, international research effort that addresses six priority research areas to accelerate our understanding of non-T2 asthma:

  • The role of sex hormones
  • The microbiome
  • The impact of the nervous system
  • Air pollution
  • Poor response to steroids for people with severe asthma
  • Primary prevention in children.

Achieving a breakthrough in asthma treatments

The report summarises the findings of European and US respiratory experts and seeks to bring us closer to new, transformative treatments by calling on researchers, funders and industry to implement the following 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 collaborative groups to advance our understanding of asthma

  4. Developing a research call 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. If you have ideas on how to help us to realise this vision, contact policy@asthma.org.uk.