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5 things you might not know about our research into lung disease

Ian, our head of research, explains a few things you may not know about lung disease research.

Researcher and research partner

1. We funded 24 different research projects in 2016

Thanks to your generosity, last year we were able to invest £1.5 million into 24 research projects.

Though we’re incredibly proud of this progress, we know it’s not enough. Our Battle for breath report in 2016 found that 12 million people in the UK are living with a long-term lung condition. But research into these conditions is severely underfunded.

This year, we want to invest £2.8 million into life changing research projects.This will mean we can fund more projects and save the lives of more people with lung disease.

2. We’ve made amazing breakthroughs in 2016

Last year, we made some great progress. Here’s just a few examples of how our researchers are making a difference:

  • Dr Lynne Prince identified a key molecule which drugs could target to reduce lung damage in COPD
  • Professor Corinne Faivre-Finn set up a clinical trial to test customised radiotherapy for patients with lung cancer to see if this improved survival rates
  • Dr Elizabeth Sage used stem cells and chemotherapy in laboratory tests and found that the combination significantly reduced the size of mesothelioma tumours
  • Professor Simon Johnson found that particular enzymes in IPF cause increased scar-tissue and worsening symptoms. Blocking the enzymes may be a future treatment. 

3. We focus our research on a few priority areas

Due to the diversity of lung diseases our research focuses on many different areas. Our 5 key research areas for 2017 are:

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • lung cancer
  • mesothelioma
  • interstitial lung disease (ILD), including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
  • children’s lung diseases

4. We only choose research projects that will have the biggest impact

So we can make sure our research makes the biggest impact, all our researchers go through a thorough process before we give them funding.

Researchers apply for funding by pitching their research proposal to us. Our volunteer research committee shortlist these applications, before expert reviewers from around the world review them. This way, we only support the best research and give ourselves the best chance of finding cures and changing lives.

5. You make it all possible

Research is the only way we will find new treatments and cures. And it’s only possible with your support. With your help, we can continue to fund research that will change lives.

Give what you can to our spring appeal. Every pound you donate will be matched by a generous anonymous donor, up to £10,000.

Make double the difference

Ian Jarrold

Ian is our head of research and has worked at the BLF for a decade. He had previously studied biochemistry and worked in the medical research charity sector.


I would like to know a little more about the research, which Dr. Lynne Prince is currently involved in as I suffer from COPD.

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30 May 2017