AstraZeneca strikes partnership with WISH lab

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Our state-of-the-art Wessex Investigational Sciences Hub (WISH) laboratory has joined forces with AstraZeneca to investigate new ways to combat the growing threat of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Southampton’s WISH lab will be the centre of a new strategic partnership with AstraZeneca Innovative Medicines in Gothenburg, Sweden, in a multiyear collaboration to investigate the effects of viral infection in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD is the fourth most common cause of death worldwide, and death rates continue to rise with limited therapeutic options. It causes the lungs to become inflamed, narrowing the airways and causing severe breathlessness, with periods of worsening symptoms. These are often the result of infections by viruses such as rhinovirus and influenza, but it is unclear why these viral infections lead to flair ups.

Industry standard facility

The WISH lab is an advanced research facility which works to industry standards. It will culture lung cells from COPD patients, which will then be infected with respiratory viruses to investigate the response.  Collaborators at AstraZeneca will also perform RNASeq analysis, a means of identifying differentially expressed genes, to discover fundamental differences between COPD patients and individuals without the disease.

The collaboration will address a lack of greatly needed treatments for the condition, specifically investigating differences in gene expression that drive the immune response to viral infection. The hope is that it will increase our understanding of the disease and identify drug targets, providing the basis for the development of new COPD therapies.

Posted on Tuesday 26 April 2016