Breakthrough research to diagnose children with asthma

A number of studies to better understand asthma – including how to diagnose and monitor the condition in children – will be conducted by Leicester researchers.

The Midlands Asthma and Allergy Research Association (MAARA) Executive Committee has approved grants totalling £230,000 over the next five years for a number of projects in the East Midlands area.

The projects led by researchers at the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation include:

  • Dr Hitesh Pandya – Project to develop a unique ‘E-NOSE’ to find easier and more precise ways of diagnosing and monitoring children with asthma. The E-NOSE project examines the breath of children with asthma using state-of the art electronic chemical analysers to identify chemicals in breath that correlate with asthma.
  • Dr Erol Gaillard with Professor Andrew Wilson, Department of Health Sciences – Study into the implementation of objective testing to diagnose asthma in children in primary care. The aims of the study are to develop a cost-effective training package for primary care that could be delivered nationally and to strengthen the case for national implementation of these breathing tests in children under investigation for asthma and to monitor children already diagnosed.
  • Dr Cat Pashley – Project to identify fungi that may have a detrimental effect on health in asthma and other respiratory diseases. The grant from MAARA will enable the team to purchase the equipment and consumables necessary to establish two techniques: one to establish whether fungal DNA detected comes from alive or dead fungi, and another to determine whether a fungus is causing allergic reactions.
  • Dr Sherif Gonem – Study to explore how air quality impacts people with asthma. The triggers of asthma may vary in different people, and could include changes in the weather, exposure to traffic pollution or high pollen counts. The research will evaluate how the environment may affect a person’s asthma.

MAARA is an East-Midlands based Charity which funds research into the causes and treatment of asthma and allergy.