UK and South Korea collaboration tackles severe asthma


In a landmark collaboration, the MRC, the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) have joined forces to fund a major new precision medicine consortium focused on tackling severe asthma.

The MRC and MSIT/NRF of Korea will invest £9m in this international consortium (~£2m from MRC and ~£7m from MSIT/NRF).

The aim of this collaborative project led by Professor Chung at Imperial College London and Professor Kim at the University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, is to introduce 'Precision Medicine' into the treatment of severe asthma.

Severe asthma is a heterogeneous disease and current treatments do not control its symptoms or exacerbations. It affects up to 5% of asthmatics who at the moment must be managed in specialist severe asthma centres.

The goal of precision medicine is to ensure that the right patient gets the right treatment at the right time. It represents a powerful tool that focuses on identifying patients or subgroups of patients with distinct mechanisms of disease, or particular responses to treatments. It aims to move away from a one-size-fits all approach, in order to identify and develop treatments that are targeted at the individual.

The Korea-UK Precision Intervention in Severe Asthma (PRISM) Consortium is multidisciplinary, bringing together the expertise of biologists, biostatisticians, bioinformaticians, clinicians, managers and patients from both the UK and Korea. Together they will collaboratively pursue large-scale, multi-omics based precision medicine research with the ultimate goal of tackling severe asthma with better targeted interventions.

Dr Mark Palmer MRC Director of International Relations, said: “The MRC has a strategic commitment to encourage international partnerships to tackle important and challenging research goals. This exciting new partnership will see world leading scientists in the UK and Korea come together to improve our understanding of how to tailor treatments and interventions to the individual needs of people living with severe asthma worldwide.”

This consortium is being funded under the umbrella of the Fund for International Collaboration (FIC). FIC aims to enhance the UK’s excellence in research and innovation through global engagement. It focuses on bilateral and multilateral partnerships with global research and development (R&D) leaders and is administered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

To read more information, click here.

The Medical Research Council has been at the forefront of scientific discovery to improve human health. Founded in 1913 to tackle tuberculosis, the MRC now invests taxpayers’ money in some of the best medical research in the world across every area of health.

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