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Scientists aim to tackle invisible killer disease

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Scientists aim to tackle invisible killer disease

SCIENTISTS from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) are a key academic partner in a £7.7 million EU project which aims to combat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The incurable respiratory condition is particularly common in Dumfries and Galloway.

It is characterised by progressive airflow reduction, breathing difficulties and irreversible lung damage.

Dumfries and Galloway has some of the highest rates in the world of COPD, which is an often ignored killer disease. Figures show that people from the region are 19.7 per cent more likely to die from COPD than compared to the rest of the UK.

But now the ‘BREATH’ (Border and Regions Airways Training Hub) project has been set up to try and address the causes, treatment and potential prevention.

It will involve a world-class cluster of researchers from Ireland’s Dundalk Institute of Technology, Queen’s University Belfast and UWS.

Professor John Lockhart, UWS director of the Institute of Biomedical and Environmental Health Research said: “This exciting new collaborative programme will provide major insights into lung disease in south west Scotland, help identify better treatments and possible preventions, and also enhance regional public awareness.

“It is increasingly being recognised that lung health needs to be made a national priority, as poor public awareness has resulted in an under-prioritisation of this disease.”

Dr Gary Litherland, of UWS, added: “By combining efforts of academic, clinical and industry partners, this award will transform COPD research in regions of great need.”


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