Lungs for Life

First Breaths research project

Lung disease, such as asthma, pneumonia, COPD and lung cancer, kills more people every year than heart disease and stroke.[1] It is estimated that over 6 million Australians suffer from respiratory problems; they cause 14% of all deaths and over 250,000 hospitalisations each year. Unfortunately, research in this area is significantly under funded.

Lung Foundation Australia and the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand are very concerned about this funding gap and together have formed a new research program, called Lungs for Life. Its objective is to raise funds to identify crucial gaps in knowledge or treatment and conduct research that will benefit the millions of Australians of all ages, who have respiratory disease. Infants are most affected by infections such as pneumonia and influenza, whilst asthma has a major impact on children and young adults. In older Australians, lung cancer and COPD are leading causes of death.

We know that the origins of many of these diseases are in early childhood. Sadly, we see children as young as three years old who already have damaged lungs[2]. This in turn leads to a much higher likelihood of these children growing into young adults, with no history of smoking, who go on to develop COPD[3] and other serious lung diseases.

There is an urgent need for more research on how to protect the lungs of very young children from damage. This means investigating the links between a vulnerable child’s genes and potential threats, such as allergens, pollutants, infections, vaccines, prenatal smoking, early nutrition and activity levels.

Protecting the development and health of the lungs of children under five will impact the future respiratory health and quality of life for the population,[4] by reducing he devastating toll of adult respiratory diseases such as COPD.

Research is one of the most effective ways to improve the prevention, detection, treatment and management of lung disease. Lung Foundation Australia and TSANZ are seeking partners who are interested in research projects to help protect the lungs of young children in Australia.


[1] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/
[2] Saglani S et al. Early detection of airway wall remodeling and eosinophilic inflammation in preschool wheezers. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2007;176:858-64
[3] Tran H et al. Development of COPD in a cohort study of child asthma. Respirol 2010;14S1.A3.
[4] Hole DJ et al. Impaired lung function and mortality risk. BMJ 1996;313: 711–5.

For further information please contact Hayley See | 02 9222 6206


You can assist by making a donation to Lungs for Life: Improving Lives Today, Working for Tomorrow’s Cure.

How to donate

The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand Limited
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Wynyard Branch, Ground Floor, 309-315 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Swift Code: CTBAAU2S
BSB: 062-009
Account: 1088 0939
EFT Reference: Lungs For Life Donation