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How we've made a difference
Research is how we make progress. It’s what finds cures and treatments. The research we've funded has changed lives. This is how.
How we made a difference in 2017-18This year we made our largest investment ever in research: £2.99 million. We funded 20 promising research projects, launched our mesothelioma research network and awarded three excellent researchers respiratory chair awards. Find out more about our research impact in 2017-18.
Research that changed clinical guidelines
One measure of how we have made a difference to the lives of people living with a lung disease is when the results of BLF-funded studies find their way into clinical guidelines and therefore improve treatment.
Here are some examples of research projects that have helped shape the treatment of COPD, pneumonia in children, asthma and bronchiectasis.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD - pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is now recommended for people after a hospital stay due to a flare up of COPD. Our research provided evidence for the NICE quality standard for COPD (PDF, 243KB), stating that people admitted to hospital for an acute exacerbation of COPD should start a pulmonary rehabilitation programme within 4 weeks of discharge
- Treating children with pneumonia - oral antibiotics are just as effective in treating childhood pneumonia as intravenous antibiotics. Oral treatment is cheaper and leads to quicker recovery. This is now part of the British Thoracic Society’s guidelines for the management of acquired pneumonia in children (2011)
- Easier diagnosis of asthma - National Institute for Healthcare Excellence (NICE) guidance recommends exhaled nitric oxide (NO) testing to help diagnose asthma when diagnosis is unclear, and to help manage asthma in people who have symptoms despite using inhaled corticosteroids
- Improved bronchiectasis treatment - Use of hypertonic saline solution to help people with bronchiectasis to cough up phlegm and improve symptoms is now quoted in the British Thoracic Society’s guideline for non-CF bronchiectasis
About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with COPD. The words ‘chronic’ and ‘disease’ terrified me and I stopped doing stuff in case I made it worse. I was referred to pulmonary rehabilitation and my whole outlook changed. I realised that exercise could improve my condition and I learnt how to manage it instead of letting it manage me. Suddenly the future looked much brighter and I’ve never looked back. Joan, who has COPD
The battle for breath: the impact of lung disease in the UK
We funded a 3-year epidemiological research project into the respiratory health of the nation, which was reported in 2016. This evidence base is needed for policymakers, researchers, health care providers and professionals to make sure the UK’s lung health is given the priority it deserves.
It is the most comprehensive overview of lung disease currently available – and will set the agenda in the respiratory field for the next decade. It takes a closer look at the impact of 15 major lung conditions as well as giving an evidence-based snapshot of the overall extent and impact of lung disease in the UK.
We’re determined to tackle what our research found:
- Government and health policy makers must make respiratory health a priority
- More research into respiratory diseases must be funded
- There must be a focus on prevention - to cover smoking, physical inactivity, obesity and air pollution
- Everyone must be aware they should get breathlessness checked out
The battle for breath - the impact of lung disease in the UK
For the past 3 years, we've been investigating the impact of lung disease in the UK.