The Centre of Excellence in Severe Asthma regularly hosts national and international experts for presentations on topics related to severe asthma. When possible, these presentations are recorded and made available online
Prof. John Upham (University of Queensland & Princess Alexandra Hospital) provides an overview of the impact of virus infection as an important cause of asthma attacks, possible immune mechanisms underlying this connection and current treatment options. For more information click here.
Dr. Louisa Owens (Sydney Children’s Hospital) provides an overview of issues to consider for the effective diagnosis, treatment and management of severe asthma in the paediatric and adolescent population. For more information click here.
Dr. Anne Vertigan (John Hunter hospital) provides step-by-step demonstration of a flexible transnasal laryngoscopy including a scent challenge, to inform a diagnosis of vocal cord dysfunction. Included is a brief overview on patient history, purpose of procedure and discussion of results with the patient. For more information click here.
Brigitte Borg (Alfred Hospital) & Prof. Greg King (Woolcock Institute of Medical Research) provide an overview of assessment approaches to quantify lung function for severe asthma. The presentation includes information on relevant techniques, interpretation for disease diagnosis and ongoing management and introduces new technologies. For more information click here.
Obesity is a common co-morbidity associated with severe asthma, which impacts on health outcomes and response to treatment. A multidisciplinary panel of experts present different management approaches for severe asthma, including dietetics, bariatric surgery, endocrinology and clinical psychology. For more information click here.
Prof. Andrew Menzies-Gow (Royal Brompton Hospital) discusses the use of oral corticosteroid (OCS) treatment for severe asthma. While OCS treatment has many beneficial effects, side-effects also contribute to significant disease burden. Strategies that can reduce OCS use while minimising symptoms are recommended, to limit the lifelong impacts of OCS treatment. Strategies to limit OCS use using current strategies and biologic therapy are presented. For more information click here.
A/Prof. David Langton (Peninsula Health) presents an overview of bronchial thermoplasty as a treatment option for severe asthma. The presentation includes a description of the procedure, how it works, the effects of treatment and complications, patient selection considerations and costs. 07 November 2018. For more information click here.
Prof. Frank Thien (Eastern Health, Monash University) presents an update on what has been learned since the tragic thunderstorm asthma events that occurred in Melbourne during the afternoon of 21st November 2016. Key findings from their study demonstrated that Asian or Indian ethnicity and a doctor diagnosis of asthma were each significantly associated with increased risk of life-threatening asthma attacks requiring hospitalisation or causing death. The findings provide important considerations for future healthcare responses and management of thunderstorm asthma. 04 October 2018. For more information click here.
Dr. Mario Castro, Washington University School of Medicine (St Louis, MO), presents “Severe Asthma Data in SARP”. Dr. Castro presents findings from the Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP), providing insights into severe asthma disease phenotypes and approaches for targeted therapy. He highlights the use of imaging technologies to better understand the lung changes that occur in severe asthma. His findings identify subgroups of patients with specific changes in the lung. The hope is that identification of these subgroups will inform the use of targeted therapies. Dr. Castro also presents data on the effects of dupilumab treatment which showed that dupilumab treatment improves patient outcomes. 19 June 2018. For more information click here
Prof. Peter Gibson, University of Newcastle, John Hunter Hospital & Hunter Medical Research Institute, presents “Macrolides in Asthma and COPD”. Prof. Gibson presents an overview of the effects of macrolide treatment, as an add-on therapy for asthma and COPD. Macrolides (e.g. erythromycin and azithromycin) are antibiotic molecules, which also have anti-inflammatory effects. Macrolide treatment improves health outcomes in a range of obstructive airways diseases and is being assessed as a treatment option for asthma and COPD. In asthma and COPD, the primary effect of long-term macrolide treatment is a reduction in exacerbations. May 2018. For more information click here
Prof. Janelle Yorke, University of Manchester, UK, presents “Patient Reported Outcomes in Severe Asthma: Fit for Purpose?”. Patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) assess the impact of disease from a patient perspective. PROMs are increasingly used to assess the effects of disease and treatment. A range of health-related quality of life PROMs have been used in asthma studies. However, no PROMs have been developed specifically for severe asthma. Prof. Yorke presents preliminary findings on the development of a severe asthma PROM. This project is a collaboration with Prof. Vanessa McDonald. 21 March 2018. For more information click here
Prof. Tim Harrison, University of Nottingham, UK, presents “Can Severe Asthma Exacerbations be Prevented with More Inhaled Steroid? A temporary increase in inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) dose has been recommended to reduce asthma attacks. However, limited data was available to support this recommendation. Prof. Harrison provides an overview of his work on the effect of increased ICS dose on asthma attacks. His initial trial demonstrated that doubling ICS dose did not improve lung function or reduce symptoms. Quadrupling ICS dose had a slight benefit, in a subset of patients. In his most recent study, a 4-fold increase in ICS dose reduced severe asthma attacks by ~20%. Prof. Harrison discusses his findings and compares them to recent studies on the effects of increased ICS dose on asthma outcomes. 21 March 2018. For more information click here
Innate immune cells are a first line of defence against infection by viruses and bacteria. Innate immune cell numbers are increased in the airways of individuals with airway disease, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In addition to increased cell numbers, innate cell function appears to be altered in chronic respiratory disease. Prof. Louise Donnelly provides an overview of changes in innate immunity in airway diseases, including effects on migration, cytokine production and ability to kill bacteria. Neutrophils and macrophages isolated from COPD patients have enhanced migration. 22 November 2017. For more information click here
There is increasing recognition that early-life lung development has long-term effects on the development of asthma. Retrospective and longitudinal studies provide evidence that wheeze and impaired lung function in childhood increases the risk of developing lung disease (including asthma and COPD). Factors that affect early life lung development include tobacco smoke exposure, pollution, birth weight, breastfeeding and early-life airway remodelling. There is no single mechanism leading to impaired lung function growth. Rather, many small effects in early life combine to determine long-term outcomes. 25 October 2017. For more information click here
Assessments of patient lung function provide evidence of broad variability between individuals. Prof. Irvin highlights the contribution of airways closing versus narrowing to decreased lung function. Further, in clinical trials, distinct lung function phenotypes exist that do not respond to treatment. 04 May 2017. For more information click here
A range of endpoint measures are used in clinical trials assessing novel therapies for asthma. The relative benefits and drawbacks of assessments for severe asthma are discussed. Careful selection of endpoint measures is critical, with consideration of the treatment approach and relevance to patient outcomes. 08 March 2017. For more information click here
The recognition that individuals with different phenotypes of severe asthma have differing response to therapy is now well-recognised. While significant progress has been made in our understanding of “eosinophilic” asthma, non-eosinophilic asthma remains poorly understood. Non-eosinophilic asthma is common, although disease mechanisms are poorly understood. Alternate approaches may be required for this population and an improved understanding of the mechanisms of inhaled corticosteroids in this population is required. 01 February 201. For more information click here
Monoclonal antibodies have emerged as options for severe, treatment-refractory asthma. This presentation focusses on the current approved therapies and further treatments in development. It also provides insights into the use of monoclonal therapies in the clinic. 08 December 2016. For more information click here
This webinar was hosted in response to the thunderstorm asthma event in Melbourne during the afternoon of 21st November 2016. This event tragically resulted in the loss of eight lives. On behalf of the Centre of Excellence in Severe Asthma we offer our sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones. This seminar provides insight into what causes thunderstorm asthma and treatment and management strategies to improve patient outcomes.
It focuses attention of the questions that need to be addressed, particularly around disease mechanisms, prevention and control. 02 December 2016. For more information click here
An analysis of qualitative semi-structured interviews reveals the emotional and practical impacts of living with severe asthma, as well as the burden of treatment. The findings indicate the need for acute asthma resources, to improve quality of care and for specific consumer messages about severe asthma. 19 October 2016. For more information click here
Occupational asthma is asthma that is caused or worsened by exposure in the workplace environment. Occupational asthma can be subdivided into sensitiser-induced and irritant-induced subtypes. Insights are provided for the diagnosis and management of occupational asthma, with a focus on sensitiser-induced occupational asthma. 29 August 2016. For more information click here
Biomarkers can provide insight into the differing mechanisms underlying disease in individual patients. Blood eosinophils are proposed as a useful biomarker in COPD, identifying a patient group that is more likely to respond to steroid therapy. 20 June 2016. For more information click here
Clinical assessment in difficult-to-treat asthma is complex and a range of mechanisms underlie severe disease in individual patients. A stratified medicine approach aims to optimise the diagnosis and treatment to individual patients. Biomarker assessment is proposed to inform this approach, with a focus on poor adherence, predicting response to corticosteroids and to inform the use of targeted therapies. 08 April 2016. For more information click here
Breathing training exercises are a non-pharmacological approach to manage breathlessness. There is now high-quality evidence for their efficacy in asthma. An overview is provided of breathing disorders and overlap with asthma, and training approaches to improve asthma control and quality of life. 28 July 2015. For more information click here
Paradoxical vocal fold movement (PVFM) refers to adduction of the vocal folds during inspiration and can contribute to breathlessness. PVFM can be misdiagnosed as asthma but can also co-occur. An overview of diagnosis and speech pathology treatment is provided. 28 July 2015. For more information click here
Non-pharmacological approaches are an important aspect of asthma management. However, limited high-quality evidence exists for many approaches. Key factors to consider when designing and interpreting clinical trials are discussed. These include a clear statement of the research question, the choice of comparator, outcomes measures, study blinding and patient involvement. 28 July 2015. For more information click here