Date Published: 25 September 2005

Major boost to UK asthma and allergy research as new centre funded

A new research centre to study asthma and allergy is to be opened later this year at King's College London and Imperial College thanks to funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Asthma UK. The MRC-Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma at King's College London and Imperial College London. will facilitate the integration of basic and clinical research to advance the generation of new treatments.

The creation of this Centre is timely, as incidence of allergy in the UK has risen approximately three-fold in the last 20 years, with one in three people now developing an allergy at some point in their lives. Also, the UK now has the highest levels in Europe of asthma in young people, and 12 million working days are lost to the condition every year.

Professor John Price, Chairman, Asthma UK said:

" As a leading funder of asthma research, Asthma UK is delighted to be part of this innovative centre of excellence for asthma and allergy research. It provides a unique opportunity to drive forward priority areas of research that will make a real difference to the lives of the 5.2 million people with asthma in the UK. "

MRC Centre Grants are intended to help UK higher education institutions develop and sustain international centres of excellence with a clear strategic direction in areas of importance for UK medical research. These highly prestigious grants are awarded to promote collaboration and training across a number of research groups.

This Centre will be directed by Professor Tak Lee from King's and Professor Tim Williams from Imperial and has three main aims which tie in with the priorities identified in Asthma UK's national consultation on basic asthma research: to advance the understanding of allergic mechanisms in order to inform the development of new, effective and targeted treatments; to provide high-quality, basic and clinical research training in allergy and asthma; and to provide quality public information on allergy and asthma in conjunction with stakeholders and partners.

Professor Tak Lee said:

" I am delighted that we have got the go-ahead for this major new Centre. Combining the strengths of the teams from King's and Imperial, and fostering a multidisciplinary approach to research will aid rapid progress in preventing and controlling asthma and allergy."

Professor Tim Williams said:

" The Centre will provide a unique opportunity for the Imperial Team to combine resources with our colleagues at King's in order to make important insights into the underlying causes of asthma and allergy. The aim will be to develop new approaches to prevention and therapy for the benefit of asthma patients."

Professor Colin Blakemore, Chief Executive of the MRC added:

" We now have the potential to build a world class research Centre for asthma and allergy that will deepen our understanding of the allergic mechanisms of asthma and inform the development of new treatments. In terms of burden of disease, this is an extremely important area of research and it will be greatly enhanced by this high-profile collaboration between King's, Imperial, MRC and Asthma UK."

Source(s): Medical Research Council, UK
http://www.mrc.ac.uk

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