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Medicine

Research Group: Respiratory and allergy Research group

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The Respiratory and Allergy Group within the Faculty of Medicine works at the interface between laboratory and clinical science to define mechanisms of respiratory disease and translating these findings into novel therapies real world clinical impact.

Respiratory and Allergy Research
Respiratory and Allergy Research

The stakes have never been higher in respiratory research.

Respiratory disease affects one in five people and is the third biggest cause of death in England. Hospital admissions for lung disease have dramatically risen over the past seven years and the economic burden of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on the NHS is now a total of nearly £5billion a year.

The Respiratory and Allergy Group within the Faculty of Medicine works at the interface between laboratory and clinical science to define mechanisms of respiratory disease and translating these findings into novel therapies real world clinical impact.

Our research covers respiratory conditions such as asthma, rhinitis, COPD, primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) and cystic fibrosis. We have expanded our research into interstitial lung diseases including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), sarcoidosis, connective tissue disease associated ILD and tuberculosis.

A particular strength of the Respiratory and Allergy Group is the close links between paediatric and adult research in the lung, providing a distinctive life-course perspective of disease development and progression.

Our understanding of these diseases has been substantially enhanced by the array of in vitro models of lung disease developed by Southampton scientists.  These models include lung cells and tissue donated by our diverse and committed volunteers who participate in our clinical cohort studies.

Our scientists have made significant contributions to the development of new treatments for asthma and IPF, contributed to new clinical and policy guidelines for disease management and provided a better understanding of the natural history of asthma and allergic diseases.

Key achievements

Our work is recognised internationally for its multidisciplinary and translational approach ranging. Our clinical researchers work with engineers, computer scientist and chemists across areas such as epidemiology and genetics, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, pathology and lung imaging to drive therapeutic target discovery, biomarker discovery and validation, early proof of pharmacological efficacy and phase I-III clinical trials. 

The Group has won multiple grants from the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wellcome Trust, Asthma UK, the British Lung Foundation and the National Institute for Health Research.

The Southampton Allergy Centre is recognised as the World Allergy Organization Centre of Excellence (2014-19) for allergy research, clinical service and education.

Collaborations and enterprise

The group works within the NIHR-funded Respiratory Biomedical Research Centre where we have strong links with the University Hospital Southampton for delivery of innovative bench-to-bedside research.

The Group leads in the identification and validation of biomarkers of airways disease, having co-founded UBIOPRED, a €22m programme in severe asthma funded by the EU and several pharmaceutical companies

The Group plays a leading role in the NIHR Inflammatory Respiratory Disease Translational Research Partnership which brings together world-class investigators in 26 of UK's leading academic and NHS research centres to support collaboration with the life sciences industry.

The group is a member of the MRC/ ABPI COPD initiative, COPDMAP, to develop a stratified approach to COPD (targeting the right treatments to the right people), enabling effective clinical trials as well as identifying novel biomarkers, mechanisms and targets.

The Respiratory group provided an important cornerstone for our strategic investment in infectious disease and in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); it has made major contributions to understanding infection-induced exacerbations which has attracted a strategic collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to help develop new vaccines for COPD.

The group has led important Phase III studies in IPF in collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim.

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