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Our PhD Studentship awards are open for outline applications! Awards of three/four years are available including joint awards with the BHF.

NC3Rs | 20 Years: Pioneering Better Science
Infrastructure grant

Human tissue models for lung disease

Test tubes

At a glance

Award date
November 2016 - October 2019
Grant amount
Principal investigator
Professor Maria Belvisi
Imperial College London


  • Reduction
  • Replacement
Read the abstract
View the grant profile on GtR

Application abstract

Research is required to identify effective and safe therapeutics for the treatment of lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Much of the research effort currently is carried out in animal models. However, because diseases such as asthma are a uniquely human condition it is sometimes difficult to interpret data generated in animal models and apply the knowledge gained in a logical way to the human disease process. A recent survey identified a need to use fresh human tissue samples for lung research. The major obstacle to obtaining tissues of this sort appears to be the lack of infrastructure and process for distributing the human tissue were consent has been given for donor tissue to be used for research. Currently a significant amount of human tissue is being disposed of in hospitals all over the country. A strategic collaboration between academics and the National Health Service Blood and Transplant Tissue and Eye Services could open up a pathway to obtain fully ethically consented, human normal and diseased lung tissue to the UK scientific community thereby reducing the need for animal tissue in research. NHS Blood and Transplant, Tissue and Eye Services (TES) are in the unique position of having access to ethically consented human tissue for transplantation and research. TES can retrieve tissue up to 48 hours after death for clinical purposes and currently obtains tissue from 400 deceased donors per year. In addition, TES has the capability to consent for research-only donors. In this way, TES may be in a position to offer normal and diseased tissue to the scientific community. We aim to investigate the viability of lung tissues from this resource across 8 research groups and 3 universities utilising a range of standard bioassay systems at periods of time after lung retrieval. We will provide information regarding the regulatory barriers, how to access this resource and data regarding the viability of the tissue.