Innovate UK and Asthma UK are joining forces to improve diagnosis and support better, more personalised asthma treatments.
Asthma patients across the UK are set to benefit from the jointly funded projects based in Manchester, Edinburgh and Portsmouth.
Over three years they will bring together expert collaborations between academic researchers and innovative businesses, with each project receiving new investment worth over £200,000.
The projects include: new tests for asthma diagnosis that look at the small airways of the lungs, run by the University of Manchester and Owlstone Medical; a clinical decision support system to help doctors and nurses in general practice diagnose asthma more easily run by the University of Edinburgh & Tactuum; and a new device to measure gases in exhaled breath to diagnose asthma in hospitals and GP surgeries, which will be run by Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth & Cambridge Respiratory Innovations.
Current tests for asthma often lead to misdiagnosis and mean patients have to trial treatments to find what works for them. Up to 40% of people are put on the wrong treatment initially. Also, diagnosing asthma in preschool children is extremely difficult.
Dr Kath Mackay, interim director at Ageing Society, Health & Nutrition at Innovate UK, said: “Many of us either are or know asthma sufferers, so are only too aware of the pressing need for better diagnosis and improved, personalised treatments. This new funding will allow innovative businesses to work hand-in-hand with the very best researchers to bring forward these much-needed breakthroughs.
“By choosing to work in partnership with leading charities, such as Asthma UK we can connect businesses to the resources that the charities may have. This can be access to patients, new ideas and the ability to generate real world evidence.”
The partnership is one of the ways that Innovate UK is helping to deliver the government’s industrial strategy and make sure the UK meets the target of spending 2.4% of GDP on research and development by 2027.