Our Christmas and New Year Message

We hope that you and your families are well and we thank you all for your continued support of Breathing Matters.

As we ‘welcomed in’ 2022, we consolidated our return to normal and a return to our pulmonary fibrosis and lung infection research work with renewed vigour. To some extent, this has been true and we aim for even more normality in 2023.

However, although immunisation has made shielding (almost) a thing of the past (for most), we still want all our patients to stay safe over the Christmas and New Year period especially as ‘flu is taking a hold. Please do make sure that you are up to date with your boosters; ask friends and family to take lateral flow tests before meeting up (shame that we do not yet have an LFT available for ‘flu); do feel that you can ask guest to continue to distance and wear masks even though it is Christmas – viruses don’t take holidays.  Christmas is a time for giving, but no one wants to give their friends and family Influenza, COVID-19 or any other viruses! 

Talking about giving, Christmas is also a spend time with family and friends, and perhaps you might be inspired to donate to your favourite charity to spread more joy. If Breathing Matters ticks your box, then you can donate here 

In January 2022, we celebrated our eleventh year as a charity. As a result of 11 strong years of funding research into pulmonary fibrosis and lung infection, we have achieved many things, including developing better ways of diagnosing and predicting outcomes in patients with pulmonary fibrosis, building on years of pre-clinical research to continue our early phase clinical trial of a novel medication C21 in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) as well as fighting pneumonia, infection and bronchiectasis.

Read our 2022 impact report on interstitial lung diseases (ILD) to see what wonderful things we have done with your donations.

It is now a year since we launched our refreshed website following a generous legacy for this purpose. We have had so much positive feedback – thank you – and we are delighted that you approve of our updated logo which reflects our ability to respond to an ever-changing landscape and to emphasise our ground-breaking research.

The end of the year is a good time to restate our values: Trusted, Pioneering, Agile, Collaborative and Determined. We remain passionate in our research to create better treatments and ultimately a cure; we will never give up!

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2022 Research
Our first work of 2022 was to publish our findings of ILD development in patients who had been hospitalised with COVID-19. A superbly collaborative piece of research from UK centres led by Professor Gisli Jenkins.  The Post-HOSPitalisation COVID Study (PHOSP-COVID) was used for capture of routine and research follow-up within 240 days from discharge. Lung abnormalities, suggesting pulmonary fibrosis. were found in up to 11% of people discharged following COVID-19 and we recommended that health services monitor these patients for long term issues. One strange side-effect of the pandemic is that we are learning so much about ILD from our experience with COVID-19 and vice versa. Our main emphasis is to complete the study in a much wider group of patients, including those with COVID-19 that were never hospitalised.

Our work in ILD continues to focus on biomarkers and novel treatment targets. One fascinating finding is that a simple blood test (that tells us the number of neutrophils in the blood) taken at the time of diagnosis can predict which patient with IPF is going to deteriorate quickly and who is going to be stable. This has now been published in eClinicalMedicine, one of the Lancet group of journals.

We were delighted to welcome Dr Hannah Torlot as our Whitaker Fellow who looked at whether novel ultra-sensitive PET imaging of the lung can help us determine those patients that might benefit from a longer trial of anti-inflammatory treatment versus those that should be started on antifibrotics straight away. We are hoping to publish this work in 2023.

It is now over 7 years since Breathing Matters funded the UCLH relatively non-invasive cryoscopic lung biopsy (CLB) service, that allowed patients to have diagnostic grade lung biopsies via a bronchoscope and so avoid surgery. We have gone on to do the first ever research project using CLB and have shown that inhaled medication can reach the fibrotic areas of the lung in pulmonary fibrosis (PF). This challenges the view that PF cannot be treated with inhaled therapy as it would not reach the correct part of the lung. This opens the way to avoid oral medication in PF and so avoid many of the limiting side-effects, such as gastrointestinal side-effects and weight-loss. This work was published in the international medical journal, Respiratory Research.

In an attempt to find better treatments for IPF (and ultimately a cure), we continue our work with C21 that has continued for over 10 years.  C21 is a treatment that rebalances the angiotensin-renin system and is safe and very well tolerated. C21 has also been tested, and found promising, in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.  In 2022, we have been carrying out a phase 3 study of C21 in IPF, that continues to recruit until March 2023. Results are eagerly awaited.

We also continued to support the national Urgent Public Health study, PHOSP-COVID. This study will discover what the long-term effects on health might be after being hospitalised with COVID-19 infection.  In 2022, we published data that showed that the sequelae of a hospital admission with COVID-19 were substantial one year after discharge across a range of health domains, with the minority in our cohort feeling fully recovered. Patient-perceived health-related quality of life was reduced at one year compared with before hospital admission. Systematic inflammation and obesity are potential treatable traits that warrant further investigation in clinical trials.

In early 2023, we expect NICE to update their recommendations for antifibrotic treatment in IPF and, in particular, to alter the lung function criteria, meaning that more patients with mild disease will be eligible for treatment and do not have to wait for disease progression.

Along with work on COVID-19, research on bronchiectasis and pneumonia continues. Our highlights were the work on Acinetobacter, a bacteria that causes highly antibiotic resistant pneumonia particularly in patients with weakened immunity. Our results showed that infection with this bacteria had a roughly 40% mortality, but also that it is possible to develop significant immunity to Acinetobacter that could prevent infection, and therefore a vaccine should be possible. 

We have also developed new methods of investigating immunity to bacteria that cause pneumonia in humans which will allow us to tease out why some people are at much higher risk of infection than others.  This latter work was well supported by Breathing Matters, through a significant donation to help purchase a scanner that measures antibody levels to many bacterial proteins at one time.  This scanner has helped transform the research the Brown group has been able to do.

Raising Awareness
You may be too late to buy a Christmas gift from our online shop, but do have a look at our new merchandise – maybe you can buy a hoodie or sweater to keep you warm, save on energy bills, help the planet and at the same time spread awareness by wearing our new logo with pride. 

We also have Christmas and Hanukkah cards, as well as cards for every occasion (including e-cards for last minute purchases). Visit here for hundreds of card choices.

Thank You to our Supporters
Through all of this, what has kept Breathing Matters going is your vital, continuous, and unwavering support.  Your donations are our lifeline, whether one-off or regular, they all help.  Many health charities have seen dramatic reductions in income over 2022 with little respite likely in 2023. We hope that, by keeping our overheads as low as possible and bringing in funding from other sources, and with your help, we can weather this storm. 

Why not give up something in 2023 – perhaps give up a weekly or monthly coffee/ donut/glass of wine and send us the money saved as a small, but regular and very powerful donation. Visit here for more information on regular giving. 

Or take something up! September is our PF awareness month (#Breathtember) and there is still plenty of time to get a group together for Steptember for #Breathtember, and why not bring in a bit of healthy competition in your workplace – see which team can do the most steps throughout the month.

A special thank you to those who have remembered us in their wills – and so planted the seed of a tree under whose shade they will never sit. 

The New Year is also that time when we make resolutions and aim to improve ourselves and the lives of those around us. What are your plans for 2023 – would you like to get involved in a fundraising event for us? We invite you to step out of your comfort zone and fundraise for us. We have plenty of amazing ideas for you, including the Northern Lights Trek in Iceland, Yosemite to San Fran cycle or a trek around the Great Wall of China. We also have local events, including obstacle runs and bungee jumps, as well as virtual events that you can do at your own pace. For inspiration, take a look at our fundraising page

Before we sign off, Breathing Matters would like us to take some time to remember all those who have died of pulmonary fibrosis, COVID-19, bronchiectasis or other respiratory infections/conditions and we offer our sincere condolences to those whom they have left behind who will be spending their first Christmas without their loved one.

With Christmas on our doorsteps, it is time to curl up with a mince pie and get in the festive spirit.  What better way than to listen to Christmas carols given by the excellent Holst Singers – and maybe read our fabulous new leaflets and free guides: Love Your Lungs and Winter Health 


We would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and here’s to a healthy and happy 2023!

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