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Breathtaking research in Manchester

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Manchester: a city of inventors and innovators. Researchers are living up to this reputation, working tirelessly to find the treatments and therapies of the future for people living with breathing conditions.

The NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) connects world-leading researchers based at The University of Manchester and three NHS Trusts in Greater Manchester, with a joint vision to drive forward the transformation of scientific breakthroughs into life-saving treatments and care for patients.

Research into breathing conditions includes the following:

Asthma, allergies and the body clock

  • Research from Manchester shows that the time of day that you come into contact with an allergen determines how you respond to it. A new study will start next year to investigate the best time of day to take inhalers to treat asthma.

Asthma: What's in a breath?

  • Every time you breathe out you release hundreds of different chemicals into the air. The chemicals are picked up by the blood as it travels around your body. Research in Manchester is finding new ways to analyse these chemicals in order to diagnose illnesses.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD as it is more commonly known, affects 1.2 million in the UK. People with the disease find it difficult to breathe because the airways in their lungs are narrower. Researchers in Manchester are trying to find out more about the early stages of the disease to help find new ways of diagnosing it earlier and even preventing it.

    Respiratory Infections

    Chronic Cough

    • Coughing is one of your body’s many defence mechanisms, which is activated in the brain when you breathe in an irritant, such as smoke or perfume. A chronic cough is a cough that lasts eight weeks or longer in adults, or four weeks in children.
    • Chronic cough affects around 12% of the UK population. If there is an underlying cause for your cough then it is possible to treat it with existing medicines and treatments. However, in 40% of cases, a person's chronic cough has no underlying cause.
    • Researchers in Manchester are scanning people's brains to better understand the links between the brain and the lungs that cause chronic cough in the hope of developing new and more personalised treatments.

    Cystic Fibrosis

    • Cystic fibrosis (CF) affects more than 10,400 people in the UK. 
    • CF is a genetic condition that people are born with it. You cannot catch it later in life, but one in 25 people carry the gene that causes it, usually without knowing.
    • A new trial is currently taking place at the Medicines Evaluation Unit in Wythenshawe which aims to combine different treatments to correct the underlying defect in CF in the hope of stabilising the disease and preventing lung damage happening in the first place.

    If you are living with, or caring for someone living with, a breathing condition, you might find the British Lung Foundation website a useful source of information.

    If you are living with a breathing condition and are interested in having your say about research into these conditions then we would love to hear from you. Please register your details with us so that we can keep you posted on events and opportunities that might be of interest.