Congratulations to Arwel Jones and Narelle Cox on Lung Foundation Australia grants

L-R: Dr Narelle Cox and Dr Arwel Jones have both won Lung Foundation Australia grants

Congratulations to Dr Arwel Jones and Dr Narelle Cox in the Department of Respiratory Research@Alfred, Monash University, who have both won Lung Foundation Australia (LFA) grants.

The LFA awarded a total of $876,000 to 13 research grants from the Hope Research Fund in several different research areas, including asthma, bronchiectasis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD), and lung cancer.

Read more from Dr Jones and Dr Cox below. See also the LFA news story.

Dr Arwel Jones was awarded the $120,000 Lung Foundation Australia (LFA) – Boehringer Ingelheim Fellowship in COPD grant over a two year period.

Dr Jones is an emerging global leader in exercise and COPD, holding a unique combination of expertise in immunology and applied health which he aims to use in this research project to answer an unmet clinical need in COPD.

The project, titled EXERT (Exercise for Exacerbations and Rhinovirus Treatment), aims to test the effect of exercise on inflammatory and anti-viral responses during COPD exacerbation.

Exacerbations in people with COPD are responsible for more than 70,000 hospitalisations in Australia each year, and this research is key in improving quality of life for those living with this incurable lung disease.

Dr Jones said he was grateful for the Fellowship to pursue the project. "Avoiding exacerbations (flare-ups) of respiratory symptoms and hospitalisations are outcomes that matter the most to people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

"Our research has shown that exercise programs can reduce the number of flare-ups in people with COPD. We don’t fully understand how this happens. People with COPD can be susceptible to flare-ups due to imbalanced responses to viral infections, including deficient protection (anti-viral immunity) preceding excessive responses from the immune system (lung inflammation).

"The results of this project will tell us whether exercise can boost anti-viral immunity and reduce lung inflammation in COPD. Dr Jones is grateful for the support from Lung Foundation Australia and the matched funding from Boehringer Ingelheim and Monash University to allow this important work to go ahead."

Dr Narelle Cox won the John Farrell Fellowship in COPD, and she is the inaugural recipient of this award. The fellowship is for 1 year ($75000 + matched funding)

Her project is titled:  From hospital to home: remote exercise testing for pulmonary rehabilitation.

Dr Cox thanked the Lung Foundation Australia Hope Research Fund, and in particular the family of the late Mr John Farrell, for this award.

Dr Cox's research focuses on improving health and clinical outcomes for people with chronic respiratory disease; including exploration of telemedicine and technology-based strategies to promote access to non-pharmacological treatments.

She said, "Pulmonary rehabilitation is the primary non-pharmacological treatment for people with chronic respiratory disease. It is a tailored program of exercise and education that helps reduce symptoms and improves function.

"It is possible to deliver pulmonary rehabilitation programs directly to people in their own home, using the telephone or over the internet.

"However, to be effective, such programs presently still require patients to attend the hospital for an initial assessment which can be challenging for many people; and made even more difficult by restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With this fellowship I will evaluate the ability to accurately and safely conduct an exercise assessment remotely (via videoconferencing). If successful, remote exercise testing capabilities have the potential to overcome many of the burdens experienced by patients trying to access rehabilitation." >

About Monash University

Monash University is Australia’s largest university with more than 80,000 students. In the 60 years since its foundation, it has developed a reputation for world-leading high-impact research, quality teaching, and inspiring innovation.

With four campuses in Australia and a presence in Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia and Italy, it is one of the most internationalised Australian universities.

As a leading international medical research university with the largest medical faculty in Australia and integration with leading Australian teaching hospitals, we consistently rank in the top 50 universities worldwide for clinical, pre-clinical and health sciences.

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