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Asthma and pollution expertise at the Trust


02 August 2017

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust hosts an array of experts in pollution and asthma with some of the most renowned clinicians, scientists and teams in the field working at the Trust. These teams, in collaboration with Imperial College London, produce ground breaking research that has far reaching consequences for patients, families and the wider population.

Professor Andrew Bush, consultant paediatric physician, recently featured on BBC Radio Four’s File On Four along with a 12 year old asthma patient Oliver Royston White, where he explained the effects of air pollution on children. Professor Bush told the programme: “I think there is no doubt pollution causes lung damage in children. There’s a lot of very clear evidence in the children’s respiratory field that pollution damages lung health long-term.” 


Professor Bush is an expert in all aspects of respiratory disease in children, especially invasive and non-invasive assessment of airway inflammation in asthma, cystic fibrosis and clinical respiratory physiology.


As well as a pioneering asthma paediatric service, the adult team, led by consultant physician Professor Kian Fan Chung, are looking at the impact of environmental pollution and nanoparticles on the lungs. His recent work on the Oxford Street study, with Professor Paul Cullinan, consultant physician, compared the clinical, physiological and inflammatory responses in patients after exposure to pollution in Oxford Street (high levels of pollution) compared to Hyde Park (low levels of pollution). The study was covered recently in the Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV programmeand featured interviews with both professors.


Professor Chung is also engaged in researching the potential lung toxicity of nanoparticles present in the environment and in consumer products through several UK-US collaborative projects. He also focuses on the role of airway smooth muscle and effects of oxidant stress on muscle function and on the mechanisms underlying corticosteroid resistance.


Professor Cullinan leads the occupational lung disease serviceat the hospital, which is among the busiest of its kind anywhere in the world. It is also the longest-established unit for the investigation of occupational lung diseases in Europe and the birthplace of specific occupational inhalation challenge testing. The team look at several research areas including the effects of traffic exposure to lung health.


Professor Chung together with Dr Jennifer Quintand Professor Cullinan are also working with colleagues in New Delhi and Edinburgh University to study the effects of atmospheric pollution on human health and asthma in New Delhi. They will be recruiting a panel of adolescent asthmatics and relating their exposures to physiological parameters (breathing rate) as well as asthma symptoms. The project is jointly funded by the National Environmental Research Council/Medical Research Council and Indian Council for Medical Research


Dr Omar Usmani,a consultant physician at the Trust, together with Professor Chung, is currently leading a study called myAirCoach, looking to research the use of mobile phones and sensor-based inhalers to help patients to monitor and store several physiological, behavioural and environmental factors. The research is also looking at the effects of pollution on asthma control in patients with asthma, with the aim to increase patients’ awareness of their asthma and allow clinicians to propose tailored care plans. The study is currently ongoing.



If you would like to find out more about any of the research mentioned or our research in general, please visit the research pages or email us.

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