COPD care and composite creations: News from the College

Here’s a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.

From new research into lung disease treatment in the UK, to a grant to develop high performance polymer composites, here is some quick-read news from across the College.

Wales top for COPD care

Wales is leading the way across the UK in referring people with chronic lung disease for vital exercise and education programmes, called pulmonary rehabilitation.

Researchers, led by Philip Stone from the National Heart and Lung Institute , analysed the management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) by NHS primary care services across the UK. COPD is the second most common lung disease in the UK and pulmonary rehabilitation is an effective way to improve a patient’s quality of life.

Researchers discovered that you are approximately twice as likely to get a referral for pulmonary rehabilitation in Wales than in England or Scotland. All countries need to improve their testing to confirm airways obstruction, even Wales still only completed it in less than 15% of patients.

Read more about the study in a report from the British Thoracic Society’s Winter Meeting.

Crick prize for cancer team

A team of researchers led by Crick group leaders Dinis Calado and Imperial chemist Professor Ed Tate has won the 2019 Sir David Cooksey Prize in Translation for their work on developing drugs to target currently untreatable cancers.

Over the past four years, the team has been studying pathways discovered in the Tate lab which support B cell lymphoma growth, and developing a novel method to block the pathways.

Upon receiving the award, Professor Tate said: "It’s a tribute to open collaboration between the Crick and the partner universities, and to the many people who helped us to reach this important turning point in our work."

Read more on the Crick website.

Understanding pain

An Imperial researcher has picked up a prestigious award for work to categorise neuropathic pain - conditions affecting peripheral nerves which feed signals back to the brain.

Neuropathic pain can be caused by disease or damage to the nerves and can cause symptoms such as shooting or burning pain, numbness, and pins and needles. But due to the varied causes and symptoms it can be difficult to treat effectively.

Jan Vollert , from the Department of Surgery & Cancer , was awarded the Ronald Dubner Research Prize by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) for leading work to better classify the characteristics of the condition into three main profiles.

The work could help aid the development of new treatments for neuropathic pain, ensuring the most effective new medicines make it through the pipeline and reach patients.

Read more on the IASP website.

Composite creations

researchers have won an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) programme grant worth 6.2m to develop the next generation of high performance polymer composites, together with the University of Bristol.

Fibre-reinforced polymers are the state-of-the-art lightweight, strong materials used in applications from aerospace to sporting goods but are often limited by their performance under compression loads. Using new analytical models, the team will design new architectures to delay or deflect compression failures.

Principal Investigator Professor Milo Shaffer , from the Departments of Materials and Chemistry , said: “This project will allow us to define the constituent materials that will underpin the future of composite science and technology.” The project will benefit from a highly creative and interdisciplinary team, amplified by contributions from leading industrial partners.

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Madeleine Stone
Communications and Public Affairs

Ryan O’Hare
Communications and Public Affairs

Caroline Brogan
Communications and Public Affairs

Ms Helen Johnson
National Heart & Lung Institute

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  • Dr Jan Vollert
    Department of Surgery & Cancer
  • Mr Philip W Stone
    National Heart & Lung Institute
  • Professor Milo S P Shaffer
    Department of Chemistry
  • Professor Ed Tate FRSC FRSB
    Department of Chemistry


  • Department of Materials
  • National Heart and Lung Institute
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Surgery and Cancer
  • College and campus

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