Leicester goes global to support chronic lung disease sufferers

Posted by pt91 at Aug 07, 2018 10:54 AM |
Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Leicester leading £2 million project funded by the NIHR Global Health Research Programme

Issued by University of Leicester on 7 August 2018

Researchers from Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Leicester will lead a £2 million project to address patients with chronic lung disease in the developing world through pulmonary rehabilitation.

Chronic lung disease is associated with cigarette smoking, damage following TB, fumes from cooking on open stoves and air pollution. Chronic lung disease is rife across the developing world. Unsurprisingly, the disease affects the most vulnerable in society and affects people at a younger age than is the case in high-income countries.

Sufferers are frequently disabled by their breathlessness. As a result, individuals experience a reduced ability to exercise, poor quality of life, and can become depressed, socially isolated and unable to work. Medication is expensive, often unavailable, and does not reverse the profound disability caused by the lung disease.

The project will focus on developing, testing and delivering suitable pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programmes in low and middle income countries (LMICs). PR is a low cost, high impact healthcare intervention backed by strong scientific evidence. It reverses the disability associated with lung disease by offering supervised exercise training and disease education, which supports patients to manage their condition.

The project, named RECHARGE, is funded by the NIHR Global Health Research Programme. The aim of the Programme is to build on existing expertise within the UK and the wider global health community to support outstanding research that addresses health issues affecting the poorest and most vulnerable people in LMICs.

Professor Sally Singh, professor of pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitation at Leicester’s Hospitals and honorary professor at the Universities of Leicester and Loughborough is the director of the RECHARGE project. She said: “I am delighted that the NIHR has funded this research project into managing chronic lung disease using pulmonary rehabilitation in low and middle income countries.

“In the first part of our project, we will train our health professional colleagues in Kyrgyzstan, Uganda, India and Sri Lanka to develop a PR programme to help patients manage chronic lung disease. We will work with health care professionals and patients to develop a form of rehabilitation that will be acceptable to all those involved. PR is currently not available in our partner countries, so our project will fill this important gap and address this unmet need.”

Dr Rupert Jones, associate professor at the University of Plymouth and deputy director of the RECHARGE project said: “We will conduct research with colleagues in our partner countries into what are culturally acceptable PR interventions for their patients, so that participation is high and has a real impact on reducing the disability associated with lung disease and improving wellbeing in this patient population. We want to measure both the impact PR has on the patients and on the staff who provide it.”

Professor Michael Steiner, consultant in respiratory medicine at Leicester’s Hospitals said: “An important part of this exciting project is the development of harmonised data collection systems which will enable the creation of an international PR database recording information about lung disease and rehabilitation. We will also support our health colleagues in their countries to enhance their research skills and capacity so we can make international comparisons, collaborate on further projects, and exchange knowledge and ideas - now and in the future.”

Dr Louise Wood, Director, Science, Research and Evidence Directorate, Department of Health and Social Care, said: “The NIHR is adding substantive value to the field of global health and helping to keep the UK at the forefront of health knowledge for global benefit. These new activities complement the breadth and range of our existing portfolio of funded research to improve health outcomes across LMICs and demonstrate the NIHR’s role in supporting the UK Aid Strategy.”

The project has the backing of The British Thoracic Society, which has agreed for its online and face to face training programmes to be used as a framework to develop an education package for staff in LMICs.

The research team is supported by the Centre for Exercise and Rehabilitation Science, a world leading centre in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, which is part of the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre.

Partner organisations involved in the project are:

  • University College London
  • International Primary Care Respiratory Group
  • Chest Research Foundation Pune, India
  • University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
  • National Centre of Cardiology and Internal Medicine, Kyrgyzstan
  • The Makerere Institute, Kampala, Uganda

Collaborator organisations include:

  • Bangladesh Primary Care Respiratory Society
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Royal College of Physicians
  • British Thoracic Society


Notes for editors

For more information:

Peter Thorley

News Projects Officer

University of Leicester

Tel: 0116 252 2415

Email: pt91@le.ac.uk


Rachael Dowling

Research Communications Manager

T: 0116 2584971

E: rachael.dowling@uhl-tr.nhs.uk

The NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) is a partnership between University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University. It is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The NIHR Leicester BRC undertakes translational clinical research in priority areas of high disease burden and clinical need. These include cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and lifestyle, obesity and physical activity. There is also a cross-cutting theme for precision medicine. The BRC harnesses the power of experimental science to explore and develop ways to help prevent and treat chronic disease. It brings together 70 highly skilled researchers, 30 of which are at the forefront of clinical services delivery. By having scientists working closely with clinicians, the BRC can deliver research that is relevant to patients and the professionals who treat them. www.leicesterbrc.nihr.ac.uk

This research was commissioned by the National Institute of Health Research using Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research.

Established by the Department of Health and Social Care, the NIHR:

  • Funds high quality research to improve health
  • Trains and supports health researchers
  • Provides world-class research facilities
  • Works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all
  • Involves patients and the public at every step

For further information, visit the NIHR website (www.nihr.ac.uk)

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