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Approved Research

Investigating effects of ambient air pollution and tobacco smoking on blood eosinophils levels and their combined risks on incident COPD

Principal Investigator: Professor Lirong Liang
Approved Research ID: 93834
Approval date: November 15th 2022

Lay summary

Tobacco smoke is the top one environmental risk factor for lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Recently, studies have also supported a link between air pollution and COPD risk. What remains unknown is how these relationships actually occur. In this project, we propose that a blood biomarker, reflecting a 'flare-up' status in our blood vessels, may be a crucial factor behind these relationships.

We will use the whole UK Biobank data, for which data of air pollution, smoking, blood biomarkers, as well as COPD outcomes are available, to answer our research questions. Using the data, we will be able to understand to what extent that air pollution or smoking affects the levels of this biomarker in our blood vessels, and to further clarify whether changes in the levels of this biomarker lead to a diagnosis of COPD among individuals. 

This project will provide useful information to guide clinical management or treatment of COPD, and help future studies design better clinical solutions to mitigate the harmful impacts of air pollution or tobacco smoking on our lungs.