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Stories from November, 2019

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World Pneumonia Day – 12th November

Pneumonia is a major cause of death among all age groups, resulting in 1.4 million deaths in 2010 (7% of the world’s yearly total) and was the 4th leading cause of death in the world in 2016, resulting in 3 million deaths worldwide.

Pneumonia is an infection of the deep parts of the lungs called the alveoli. This is where oxygen is transferred into the blood from the air, but during pneumonia the alveoli are invaded by bacteria or viruses which then causes the alveoli to fill up with fluid and white cells in an attempt by the body to kill the bugs. Alveoli filled with fluid and cells is called consolidation and shows up on an X-ray, and is also why patients with pneumonia become breathless as there is less lung available to transfer oxygen into the blood. If the pneumonia spreads to affect the edge of the lung, then it can inflame the membrane that covers the lung called the pleura. This causes a lot of pain, especially on breathing in, and is called pleurisy.

Recent research by Professor Brown’s infection research team at UCL Respiratory has had three research papers published which describe new findings about the commonest causes of pneumonia.

Streptococcus pneumoniae interacts with humans to cause infection. They describe the mechanisms by which the human immune system recognises the presence of S. pneumoniae and then responds to cause inflammation that is necessary for controlling infection. They are basic science research which do not directly feed into clinical care, but help us better understand how diseases like pneumonia develop and could therefore be prevented.

  1. Weight CM, et al. Epithelial control of colonisation by Streptococcus pneumoniae at the human mucosal surface Nat Comms 2019 10(1):3060.
  2. Javan RR et al. Prophages and satellite prophages are widespread among Streptococcus species and may play a role in pneumococcal pathogenesis Nat Communications, in press 2019.
  3. Periselneris J et al. Relative contribution of extracellular and internalised bacteria to early macrophage pro-inflammatory responses to Streptococcus pneumoniae. mBio, in press 2019.

If you would like to support this work, please donate to: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/breathingmatters

 

Coronation Street Pulmonary Fibrosis Storyline, November 2019

We are so happy to see a storyline on pulmonary fibrosis in Coronation Street in November 2019 (the storyline starts 11th November).  Breathing Matters’ Medical Director, Professor Joanna Porter, was honoured to be asked to be medical advisor on this script so it should be authentic!

This is such a fantastic platform to showcase this devastating disease which is on the increase in the UK, and to raise much needed awareness and hopefully more investment in research for a cure and better treatments.

You can see a preview of the storyline here: https://www.itv.com/coronationstreet

Happy watching!

 

Newsletter – Autumn 2019

Autumn 2019 Newsletter – Quiz Answers

 

Q: Which year did England last win the World Cup?

A: 2002 – sadly not 2019!

 

Q: What is the name of the World Cup trophy?

A: Webb Ellis Cup

 

Q: In what year was the first Rugby World Cup?

A: 1987

 

Q: Who won the first Rugby World Cup, and who were runners-up?

A: New Zealand were the champions.  They defeated France 29-9

 

Q: Who has scored the most tries in a Rugby World Cup?

A: Bryan Habana and Jonah Lomu share the record for the most tries (15) in Rugby World Cups, and share the record for most tries in a single World Cup tournament (8) with Julian Savea 

 

Lung Infection Research Update

Prof Brown’s team has had two papers on bronchiectasis published recently.

The first describes the rapid development of bronchiectasis in patients who have weakened immune systems due to haematological disease.  This includes information for around 80 patients about bronchiectasis caused by haematological disorders such as lymphoma, myeloma  or leukaemia. This is the largest number of these patients described in the medical literature, and is important as it makes other doctors aware that bronchiectasis develops very quickly in these patients and causes a lot of ill health; better awareness of the problem will make doctors much better at recognising these patients and referring them to specialist centres, such as UCLH.

The other paper on bronchiectasis uses computers and CT scans to measure the exact degree of the dilatation of the bronchi in patients with bronchiectasis.  The more dilated the bronchi the worse the bronchiectasis, but at present we can only really measure this by eye just looking at the CT scans, which is not very accurate. Using computer software to give an actual measurement for the severity of bronchial dilatation would be a significant breakthrough as it would allow us to follow what happens to a particular patient over time, and rapidly identify if things are getting worse.

Three research papers have also been published which describe new findings about how the commonest cause of pneumonia.

Streptococcus pneumoniae interacts with humans to cause infection.   They describe the mechanisms by which the human immune system recognises the presence of S. pneumoniae and then responds to cause inflammation that is necessary for controlling infection. They are basic science research which do not directly feed into clinical care, but help us better understand how diseases like pneumonia develop and could therefore be prevented.

  1. Jose R et al. De novo bronchiectasis in haematological malignancies. ERJ Open, in press 2019.
  2. Kin et al.  Reproducibility of an airway tapering measurement in computed tomography with application to bronchiectasis.’  J Medical Imaging, in press 2019.
  3. Weight CM, et al. Epithelial control of colonisation by Streptococcus pneumoniae at the human mucosal surface Nat Comms 2019 10(1):3060.
  4. Javan RR et al. Prophages and satellite prophages are widespread among Streptococcus species and may play a role in pneumococcal pathogenesis Nat Communications, in press 2019.
  5. Periselneris J et al. Relative contribution of extracellular and internalised bacteria to early macrophage pro-inflammatory responses to Streptococcus pneumoniae. mBio, in press 2019.