Respiratory medical research is vital for the future health of Europe. National and European research programmes must reflect this to a greater extent in the next decade. More translational research is needed to bring scientific advances and knowledge into clinical practice, and to this end, there is a great need to find effective ways for collaboration between research disciplines. The Alliance for Biomedical Research in Europe (www.biomedeurope.org), grouping 20 major medical and research societies, has been established in order to promote and advocate for biomedical research at the European level.
Research in the field of respiratory disease will allow us to unravel the molecular mechanisms that are the origin of major diseases. The important roles of lifestyle and the environment are becoming much clearer, and minimising their adverse effects will require political as well as research action.
We are entering an era in which many new technologies will become available for improved imaging, for more specific biomarkers and for more precise targeting of metabolic pathways. These should allow earlier and more specific diagnosis, as well as better targeted and personalised treatments. Initially, these developments might appear costly, but more personalised medicine may be cost-saving, by decreasing the number of side-effects of current therapies, improving disease outcomes and promoting more healthy ageing.