New centre launches to transform lung care

Leading respiratory clinicians and academics from across London have come together to launch a new centre of excellence focused on lung health.

The new King’s Centre for Lung Health includes leading clinicians from Royal Brompton and Harefield, Guy’s and St Thomas', and King’s College Hospital, alongside expert academics from King’s College and Imperial College, and leading figures from King’s Health Partners.

Launched yesterday, the new centre – whose mission is ‘inspiring better breathing’ – aims to discover new treatments, diagnoses and drugs to tackle one of the biggest health issues in the world today.

Image of panel at launch of King's Centre for Lung HealthMona Bafadhel, the centre’s director and chair of respiratory medicine at King’s, pointed out that there are 10 health crises every minute caused by lung disease in the UK, which also has the worst death rate for lung disease anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. “We must not take our lungs for granted,” she said.

Professor Bafadhel said her centre would address some of the great healthcare challenges of our day by developing the best of respiratory research with NHS partners and others. The centre would be able to study some of the largest disease cohorts in the UK and would serve some of the most diverse communities. “We need a public awareness campaign on what lung health really means’” she added.

Chief executive of Guy’s and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust Ian Abbs said at the event: “Congratulations on launching this centre – it is a sunrise moment for an area of medicine that has been too long in the dark.”

Deputy CEO of Guy’s and St Thomas' Lawrence Tallon, who was one of the launch panel speakers, said: “This is a landmark day for us and our clinical academic collaboration. Innovation is absolutely key for the long term future of the healthcare system in this country and it is places like this that have the opportunity to innovate at scale for the maximum benefit of patients.”

Richard Grocott-Mason, chief executive of the Heart, Lung and Critical Care Clinical Group at Guy’s and St Thomas', also spoke at the launch. He said: “This bold new Centre will expand our knowledge of the lungs and lung health very significantly and is therefore a really important and exciting development for medicine, for the NHS and its partners, and for our clinical group. I am delighted that we are closely involved and am looking forward to working with Mona and her team.”

Executive director of King’s Health Partners Richard Trembath said the new centre represented a “significant moment” and was in many ways the culmination of collaboration between clinicians and academics which went back to the very first discussions about the merger between Royal Brompton and Harefield and Guy’s and St Thomas’.

The launch also heard from Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care, who said tackling respiratory disease was one of the key elements in the government’s vision for life sciences, and was an area “where we need to see a step change.”