Advocating for Global Respiratory Health: 25 September Marks World Lung Day

Patient Organisations in the Interdisciplinary Immunology Project 3TR Are Raising Awareness for Global Lung Health

Every year on 25 September, World Lung Day aims to raise public awareness about lung health and the global impact of lung diseases, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and asthma. Established by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), World Lung Day is an annual opportunity for action, conversation, and raising awareness about lung diseases. Two patient organisations in the 3TR project in the field of lung health, the European Respiratory Society (ERF) and the European Lung Foundation (ELS), are joining healthcare providers, medical societies and advocacy groups to promote better lung health globally.

During this year’s extraordinary global health crisis, the world has been made aware of how deadly respiratory viruses can be. While other severe lung diseases have received far less attention, they too have been causing immense human suffering and death and are imposing an immense socioeconomic burden on the global community. Many respiratory diseases are preventable, e.g. through a vaccine. Low- and middle-income countries, due to their lack of medical infrastructure and often poor hygienic conditions, are disproportionately affected by lung diseases, such as tuberculosis.

With 10 million tuberculosis patients and more than 1.5 million deaths as a direct result each year, it is the most common lethal infectious disease. By 2030, it will be closely followed by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), from which 400 million people are already suffering worldwide. Within the next decade, COPD is predicted to become the 3rd leading cause of death globally. Additionally, more than 14 % of children suffer from asthma, making it the most common chronic childhood disease.

Today, organisations around the world are therefore advocating for global respiratory health and call on policymakers to introduce measures to reduce air pollution and for all people to have access to effective, affordable vaccines.

Although the individual symptoms and progression of diseases such as COPD and asthma vary greatly, there are similarities at the molecular level. Recognizing the immense global burden of COPD and asthma, the 3TR project is dedicated to studying the underlying molecular pathways of these diseases, as well as of five other autoimmune, inflammatory and allergic diseases, jointly and in parallel. By veering away from the traditional single disease approach, the project aims to better predict treatment response and to identify novel biomarkers.

The 3TR project brings together renowned experts from 69 partners including academic institutions, industrial companies, SMEs and patient organisations, covering 15 European countries. Over the next 7 years and with €80 million in EU funding, the interdisciplinary consortium will explore the mechanisms of response and non-response to treatment. In total, 3TR will have access to an unprecedented quantity of clinical data and samples of more than 50,000 patients across 50 clinical trials. The 3TR project will have significant implications for future patient management and the assessment of efficacy, safety and quality of future health products.

Follow us on Twitter @3TR_IMI and learn more about the World Lung Day under the hashtag #WorldLungDay