Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Atishoo! From babies with colds to bird flu - new centre to tackle respiratory infections

02.06.2008
Think that colds and flu are easy to catch, hard to avoid and impossible to treat? That nobody ever dies of a cold? That's all wrong, say the medics and scientists at a new research centre which launches today (Monday 2 June).

Research into respiratory infections is an urgent priority, they argue. Colds can be a very serious problem for the elderly, babies, and patients with lung disease. History suggests a major flu pandemic is overdue and drug resistant tuberculosis and other 'superbugs' are on the rise.

The new Centre for Respiratory Infection at Imperial College London aims to tackle these issues. It is funded by a £3.4 million award from the Wellcome Trust and will bring together more than 200 scientists to work on a range of problems - how common cold viruses cause disease and affect long-term health, how to make better vaccines to prevent lung infections, and how to diagnose TB more accurately. The centre will also be ready to spring into action if there is a new outbreak of pandemic flu such as a mutated form of bird flu, or SARS.

Professor Peter Openshaw, the Director of the new centre from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, said: "Respiratory disease has never been as well funded as it deserves to be, considering the impact it has on health. Respiratory infections are at the root of many of the diseases that we treat every day. This new initiative is a great opportunity to get something done. We have a lot of very talented groups working on different aspects of lung infections, and bringing them together with solid shared support will help them work on common goals, to the great benefit of patients".

Examples of problems which the centre will tackle include:

* How to quickly bring a flu pandemic under control

Researchers from the new centre are establishing a clinical team that will bring doctors and researchers together to bring a future flu pandemic under control quickly and effectively.

If an outbreak of pandemic flu strikes, doctors will only be able to get the best treatments to patients if they can first analyse the flu strain and find out which therapies are going to work. However, planning and setting up the necessary trials to obtain this information would usually take months.

The new centre will put plans in place in advance, so that researchers can get to work before the epidemic spreads too widely and so that doctors working on the ground are fully prepared.

The researchers will be working closely with colleagues at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, and with other scientists and government agencies across the world.

Professor Openshaw explained: "We can only move fast to bring an epidemic under control if we have staff ready and plans already in place. To plan at the stage when patients start coming in through casualty will be impossible."

* Why the common cold in babies can cause long term health problems

The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes colds in adults, is the main single cause of hospitalisation in babies under a year of age. It causes most cases of viral bronchiolitis, an infection of the small airways of the lung which leads to breathing problems and which results about 1 in every 40 babies affected being admitted to hospital. Around 40 percent of infants who experience bronchiolitis as a result of RSV infection are affected by recurring wheeze and asthma in childhood.

The researchers will investigate why some babies get severe disease, while the majority recover with ease. Imperial College researchers have already made many important discoveries about RSV, including a study in 2004 which revealed that RSV can 'hit and hide', surviving in the body for many months or years. They are now investigating whether recurrent wheezing in children could be caused by the virus hiding in the lung.

Laura Gallagher | alfa
Further information:
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>