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Respiratory diseases are the second most common cause for hospital admission in the UK and every five minutes somebody dies from lung disease. Chronic inflammatory conditions of the lung such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma affect millions. Yet we still don’t know what causes them, how best to diagnose them and how to select the best treatments for individual patients.

Our respiratory research is based within the North West Lung Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital, the largest clinical respiratory department in the UK.

More than 40 consultants, including 10 professors, deliver care through specialist regional and national clinics.

Our aims are:

  • to understand the causes of the common and rare lung diseases that we treat;
  • improve diagnostic tests so that we can select the best available treatment for each individual patient;
  • develop new therapies.

Precision medicine

We will move the focus on respiratory diseases from phenotype (grouping diseases by symptoms and when they occur) to endotype (a more accurate way of grouping by specific biomarkers).

This will enable us to practice more precision medicine.

We are developing exhaled biomarker fingerprints that will be diagnostic for asthma and predict treatment response.

By characterising changes in immunological homeostasis and macrophage function we will be able to predict which smokers will develop COPD.

For patients with chronic respiratory symptoms such as cough, the characterisation of neuro-phenotypes (in relation to airway innervation and airway neuro-immune mediators) will facilitate trials of new targeted therapies.

We are also developing rapid diagnostics for the prevention of antimicrobial resistance in critically ill patients.


We host the Respiratory Theme of the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, and through the NIHR clinical research facility (respiratory and allergy) our programme of clinical trials tests new therapies for our patients.

We also host a 36-bed, dedicated asthma/COPD early phase clinical trial unit, the Medicines Evaluation Unit.

We led global guidelines for management of COPD (for example GINA and GOLD) and the innovative Salford Lung Study which is the first RCT to assess the clinical effectiveness of a pre-licensed medication in asthma and COPD in a real world study.

We were the first to test novel CFC-free inhalers for asthma and led the safe worldwide phase-out of CFC-based inhalers.

We host a population-based birth cohort, the Manchester Asthma and Allergy Study. From this we have published more than 100 papers defining disease phenotypes of asthma, eczema and food allergy from early life.

Other Inflammation medicine research activity







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