Many of us have long believed that curing asthma will eventually be possible, despite skepticism and resistance. We believe it is now time to formally name this ambition and initiate an Australia-wide collaboration to CURE asthma. As other research groups for other serious diseases have taught us, if we do not name our ambition, it will not be achieved.

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The burden of asthma is profound. In Australia, it costs society $28b per year and is responsible for 40,000 hospital admissions and over 400 deaths per year.

One decisive way to reduce the burden is to CURE people of their disease. Major advances in our scientific understanding of asthma epidemiology, its driving molecular mechanisms and precedents from other comparable chronic inflammatory diseases for the first time make this goal a realistic ambition.

Our progress in treating prevalent (current) asthma means that we have stopped looking for ways to CURE people of the disease. This situation cannot continue.

Intense research over decades on causes and possible signals for a CURE strongly support the early life incident model explained by a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental exposures.

We propose a collaborative, scientific and systemic effort to CURE asthma. CURE asthma means treating a patient who has a validated asthma diagnosis in a way which reverses the mechanisms that cause disease symptoms; permanently, and efficiently producing a lasting disease-free state.

CURE Asthma Research Symposium
CURE Asthma Research Symposium, April 2024

The Case

For decades Australia has led the world in bringing asthma evidence into practice and guidelines for international significance. Asthma Australia and friends recently completed a research priority setting exercise, which has been published as the National Asthma Research Agenda (NARA). This agenda was called for in the National Asthma Strategy, 2018, to establish a nationally coordinated set of research priorities for asthma in Australia.

Learn More: NARA

NARA, developed directly from deep consultation with asthma patients and their carers, is our mandate for action. Specific questions within the agenda under priority themes point us towards scientific pursuit of CURE. Asthma in Children (why some children outgrow asthma and how can we harness this, what are modifiable interventions in early childhood that can prevent ongoing symptoms later) and Causes, Prevention and Features (what causes asthma and how can we prevent it?) are these specific, high priority, end-user derived demands.

Current Insights

In the past 20 years, while focus on finding an asthma cure has faded, we have seen remarkable progress on cure and inducible permanent remission for other diseases, including those in the respiratory and immunological domains.

We now know from extensive molecular profiling that asthma, like other chronic inflammatory diseases, is a heterogenous condition of the airways that can emerge and be diagnosed at any stage of the life course. Although this may have contributed to the perception that CURE may be elusive in asthma, we believe that our ability to define and describe distinct patterns of onset will provide us the platform to describe and pursue distinct curative treatment targets.

Potential For Profound Impact

Asthma has been a National Health Priority for decades, yet profound progress to arrest its prevalence and insidious burden has been limited at best. The potential for impact of CURE asthma is immense. An asthma cure in the first decades of life has the potential to:

  • Significantly reduce the prevalence of asthma in Australia and around the world
  • Improve the likelihood for effective social development
  • Improve the fulfilment developmental milestones
  • Improve the likelihood of academic and vocational success among people diagnosed with asthma
  • Reduce the risk of preventable hospital presentations
  • Reduce likelihood of comorbidities
  • Increase likelihood of better quality of life
  • Reduce health system impost
  • Reduce impost on the community.

The Team

In partnership with Professor Gary Anderson from the University of Melbourne, we have assembled a stellar cast of world leading clinicians and researchers as the CURE asthma executive steering committee (below). Together, we have begun planning a targeted and long term approach, which has included expanding our scientific horizons to form collaborations with leaders in the technologies and methods ready to achieve our ambitious goal.

CURE Asthma Research Symposium Executive Steering Committee

  • Anthony Flynn – Asthma Australia
  • Profs Gary Anderson and Shyamali Dharmage – University of Melbourne
  • Profs Peter Gibson, Vanessa McDonald and Paul Foster – University of Newcastle
  • Profs Guy Marks and Adam Jaffe – University of NSW
  • Prof Peter Sly – University of Queensland
  • Prof Christine Jenkins – The George Institute
  • Prof Alan James – University of Western Australia
  • A/Prof John Blakey – Curtin University
  • Prof Phil Bardin – Monash University

Research Symposium

Asthma Australia is looking forward to the CURE Asthma Research Symposium in April 2024. The event will explore important discovery to translation pathways across the asthma life course, building bridges between diverse scientific disciplines and generating the energy required to support this bold mission to CURE asthma.

We’re grateful for the support from the following organisations:

Bio21 University of Melbourne logo

Lung Health Alliance Partners:

TSANZ    Lung Foundation Australia

The CURE asthma research symposium led by Asthma Australia has been made possible with funding via unrestricted grants from Astra Zeneca, GSK and Sanofi.