Lung research receives a boost
Thoracic researchers Janet Shaw and Professor Ian Yang
The grant will support a joint research project between The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH) Department of Thoracic Medicine, the University of Queensland – UQ Thoracic Research Centre and the University of Newcastle that will investigate new methods for predicting the risk of future exacerbations in patients with chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
COPD is a chronic lung disease which causes an estimated $929 million of direct healthcare costs annually in Australia. The grant will enable researchers to use new methods of DNA testing to identify all forms of bacteria in the lungs of patients with COPD.
TPCH Director of Thoracic Medicine Professor Ian Yang says the presence of certain micro-organisms in a patient’s lung can be indicative of whether they may be at risk of future flare-ups and exacerbations.
“DNA sputum testing can provide clinicians with more detailed information about an individual’s lung bacteria composition compared with conventional testing
methods that culture or grow only a small number of the bacteria found in a patient’s sputum,” Professor Yang says.
“Having this additional information can potentially help clinicians to individualise and target treatment for COPD patients, with the overall goal of improving the management of their condition.”
This multidisciplinary collaboration between a number of research centres will apply the latest technology to samples from patients, enhance knowledge in this
field, and enable training opportunities for students and researchers.