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Lung Fund supporting two Groningen research projects

20 July 2015

Two consortia led by Groningen researchers, are to receive grants from the Dutch National Lung Fund(Longfonds) for research into the causes and prevention of lung attacks. The first project involved is led by Barbro Melgert (Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, University of Groningen) and the other by Irene Heijink and Nick ten Hacken (Lung Diseases and Tuberculosis, UMCG).

A lung attack is very serious for people with a lung disease. They become extremely breathless and often have to go to hospital. Barbro Melgert is therefore investigating the mechanism of lung attacks in patients with asthma and COPD, in collaboration with colleagues from Amsterdam and Oxford. The consortium hopes to eventually develop a medicine which will reduce the seriousness of lung attacks, or even prevent them.

The second study is an international project on the recovery of lung tissue in COPD. Stem cells can repair lungs and also suppress inflammatory processes. However, these stem cells seem to work less efffectively in people with emphysema (a specific form of COPD). Irene Heijink and Nick ten Hacken, working with colleagues from Nijmegen, Pittsburgh and Dublin, aim to gain a better understanding of why these cells do not work as effectively in COPD patients and to investigate whether it is possible to reactivate the repair function. To this end, they will be building a 3D model with real human lung cells.

Alongside these two studies, the Longfonds has also awarded a grant to a third consortium running a project searching for a new treatment for allergic asthma, led by Hermelijn Smits of Leiden University Medical Center. The Longfonds means to invest more than € 2 million in the three studies, which were selected by the charity’s Scientific Advice Committee (Wetenschappelijk Advies Commissie). The Committee comprises scientists, healthcare providers and people with a lung disease.

Last modified:01 February 2017 12.45 a.m.
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