New centre to boost UK asthma and allergy research

A new research centre to study asthma and allergy will open later this year at Imperial College and King's College London 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 help to integrate basic and clinical research to advance the generation of new treatments.

The creation of the centre comes as the 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. The UK now has the highest levels of asthma in young people in Europe and loses 12 million working days to the condition every year.

MRC Centre Grants are intended to help UK universities develop international centres of excellence in areas of research that are important for the UK.

The new centre will be directed by Professor Tak Lee from King's and Professor Tim Williams from Imperial College, and has three main aims:

  • 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
  • to provide high-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 Williams is Deputy Director of the new Centre and is also head of the Leukocyte Biology Section in the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College. He has held the Asthma UK Professorial Chair at Imperial since 1988 and is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

(Original article)

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