August 12, 2016

2016 LFA/BI COPD Research Top-Up Grants Winners – Vanessa McDonald & Sabine Zimmermann

Congratulations to Vanessa McDonald and Sabine Zimmermann who have been awarded the Lung Foundation Australia/Boehringer Ingelheim Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Research Top-Up Grants 2016/2017. The grant proudly sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim supports research to improve the diagnosis and management of COPD in Australia.

Vanessa’s study will test a new approach to the management of COPD which has the potential to lead to major improvements in health status and to significantly reduce disease flare ups. In the study, the type of inflammation in the airways (breathing tubes) and circulation is assessed and then medicines that reduce the different types of inflammation are selected. The medicines are personalised to each individual. Participants in the study are assigned to either the active treatment intervention or to usual care with placebo (non active tablets). A positive trial will provide a new rational method to manage the multiple disease components of COPD, leading to reduced health care burden and improved treatment guidelines for COPD.

Sabine’s research will look at the lung function of those with COPD which will be monitored daily in their home, using a state-of-the-art telemonitoring device which uploads data automatically using mobile internet. The device measures lung function using a test called the forced oscillation technique, which is simple to perform even when the patient’s breathing is difficult due to their COPD. From this, the researchers aim to gain a measure that will predict upcoming COPD fare-ups. Ultimately, the study hopes to develop an alarm function that will alert the patient when they need to see their doctor early for a medical review or, alternatively, they should need to start treatment themselves at home.

For more information about Lung Foundation Australia’s research awards, or to see the 2017 Awards (available early September) visit