Respiratory medicine

The Respiratory Medicine department plays a major role in research across University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), both in its support of other specialties and through investigations and trials of its own.

Clinicians from the respiratory team carry out work on lung cancer and other serious lung diseases and conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and pulmonary fibrosis.

They also play a key role in the assessment of lung function in post-operative surgical patients and patients in whom lung problems develop as a result of a different primary condition.

Basic science

Dr David Thickett is conducting research into the cellular mechanisms behind conditions such as pulmonary fibrosis and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This work is being done in collaboration with the University of Birmingham.

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Lung cancer

Work is underway into a wide range of elements of lung cancer and mesothelioma, including drug trials, population studies and radiotherapy.

 

Non-cancer

Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency

This defective production of alpha 1-antitrypsin leads to decreased A1AT activity in the blood and lungs. The work is looking at how this deficiency affects lung disease, and has produced a number of important new areas of study, including mechanisms of lung inflammation, aspects of COPD and the role of genetics in lung disease. In addition, the work has helped to identify which patients are likely to benefit from A1AT replacement therapy.

Professor Robert Stockley is working on research into alpha 1-antitrypsin (A1AT) deficiency in collaboration with colleagues at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Dr Simon Gompertz has been involved in work on the telemonitoring of COPD patients’ symptoms in their own home. This promising new service halved admissions to hospital and also reduced the associated healthcare costs. He has won £10,000 of Strategic Health Authority money to go towards developing this idea further, and is currently working up proposals for a randomised, controlled trial of telemonitoring for the first 30 days after discharge from hospital with a COPD exacerbation.

Dr Anita Sullivan is undertaking research into the palliative care needs of patients with COPD.

Lung function testing

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) experts carry out trials on new ways of testing lung function.

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