World Bronchiectasis Day

By  A/Prof. Julie Marchant

World Bronchiectasis Day is held on 1 July and is now in its second year. The day aims to raise awareness, share knowledge, and discuss ways to reduce the burden of bronchiectasis for patients and their families worldwide. Watch an interview with Jarrabah, one of the AusHSI Respiratory Research Program‘s bronchiectasis patients at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, as he and Dr Vikas Goyal highlight the condition and what Jarrabah does to stay healthy.

Bronchiectasis is a chronic lung disease characterised by persistent or recurrent wet cough and airway inflammation and infection. It is one of the most common reasons for referral to paediatric respiratory services in Australia. If the condition is picked up early in children, appropriate management can reverse the radiological airway damage in some patients. As a result, it is crucial that children are diagnosed early.

Led by Prof Anne Chang, the Cough and Airways Research Group (CAARG) at AusHSI is focused on improving the lung health and quality of life of children with bronchiectasis and cough-related illnesses, which are the leading cause of disease in children worldwide. The respiratory research team focuses on the cause, prevention and management of acute and chronic respiratory diseases in children through early diagnosis and treatment, helping to ensure the best medical care and future lung health.

Many parents have not heard of bronchiectasis until their child has been diagnosed. It is often at this point that they seek out further information. The AusHSI Respiratory Research Program has developed a guide to highlight important bronchiectasis resources that can support families, including a Bronchiectasis Action Management Plan (BAMP) and Child-BEAR-Net’s Frequently Asked Questions.

Our respiratory research program encompasses elemental science through to clinical interventions, such as the appropriate use of antibiotics. We aim to improve equity of quality care and resources for all children with lung disease, no matter where they live or their type of disease.

AusHSI Resipiratory Team

We are currently undertaking a number of studies that investigate bronchiectasis, an under-researched condition which currently has no licensed medication. Our research has focused on optimal management of respiratory flare-ups, which are one of the main concerns of families, as they impact on quality of life. The BronchiEctasis Trial Testing ERdosteine (BETTER) is a multicentre double blinded randomised controlled trial (RCT) using a pharmaceutical treatment named erdosteine to improve patient outcomes. If the study shows a benefit, it will likely lead to the introduction of a new oral treatment for the respiratory disease.

One of our bronchiectasis research projects uses sequencing technologies to detect gene patterns in blood to help us identify which children will have better outcomes, when a flare-up might occur, and which children may respond best to treatments. This may help to avoid the need for invasive tests, especially important in children. We are also exploring how to prevent wheeze and asthma in children who have had bronchiolitis.

We encourage you to follow #AusHSIRespiratory and #AusBreathe on Twitter, reach out to the Cough and Airways Research Group, and stay involved as we continue to find ways to improve the management of cough-related illnesses in children, leading to better outcomes in adulthood.

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