Boost for lung patients with £7.5 million grant

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More lung disease patients could be diagnosed and treated early following a £7.5 million grant to Sheffield University.

The university’s academic unit of radiology has developed technology which provides detailed pictures of a patient’s lungs without relying on X-rays.

Now researchers have been awarded millions of pounds by the Medical Research Council and British Heart Foundation to expand the project and set up a new image processing laboratory.

The imaging method involves a patient inhaling small amounts of gases - helium and xenon - which are then picked up on an MRI scanner, showing the lungs at work.

This helps clinicians identify conditions such as emphysema, cystic fibrosis and asthma.

Jim Wild, professor of magnetic resonance physics, said: “This grant will allow continued research into MRI scanner hardware and image acquisition methods and their clinical translation, ensuring Sheffield and the UK lead in this important area of diagnostic pulmonary medicine.”

Prof Wild added: “The new image processing laboratory will allow us to process large volumes of digital imaging data.”