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Respiratory Current Research

With over 15 years of commercial and non-commercial research, the Respiratory Research team led by Professor Maskell is one of the largest and most successful clinical and academic pleural research teams in the UK.

For nearly a decade they have been designing and delivering practice-changing clinic trials, improving the lives of patients with mesothelioma, pleural infection, and pneumothorax.

They have tested new devices designed to manage recurrent pleural effusions and pneumothorax, including a first in human trial which led to an international multi-centre randomised controlled trial (SEAL-MPE trial).

The multidisciplinary team includes highly skilled and motivated research nurses, managers, clinical research fellows and clinical academics. The team has also successfully been awarded research grants of more than £5million.

Please speak to the person treating you to find out if there is a research study that may be able to help you.

Current Studies:

ASPECT (Aspirin after hospitalisation with Pneumonia to prevent cardiovascular Events randomised Controlled Trial)

The ASPECT (Aspirin after hospitalisation with Pneumonia to prevent cardiovascular Events randomised Controlled Trial) is the largest ever pneumonia trial.

It will investigate whether aspirin can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke in patients who are admitted to hospital with pneumonia. Led by the University of Bristol, sponsored by North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) and supported by the Bristol Trials Centre, the trial has been awarded funding of over £2.3 million by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). 

The randomised controlled trial will recruit 22,600 patients from over 60 hospitals across England.  Findings from the four-year study will support future treatment guidelines, if appropriate, for patients with pneumonia. If aspirin is shown to be effective it could prevent up to 3,000 heart attacks and strokes a year in England alone.

Adults over 50 years of age admitted to hospital with pneumonia will be invited to take part in the trial. Those who agree will be split into two groups. Every person joining the study will have an equal chance of being in either group, so both groups will be made up of similar people.

One group will be prescribed a three-month course of low-dose aspirin, the other group will not. In all other respects, both groups will receive the standard pneumonia treatment. Participants will be followed up after three months.

The researchers will assess the participants recovery, specifically whether they have had a heart attack or stroke, or any serious side effects from the aspirin. This will be done by reviewing the 'usual care' health records of participants held by NHS hospitals.

Following up participants like this has been shown to be robust, reduces the burden on participants and makes the research much less expensive. To ensure participants are not getting side effects that would not be picked up in their health records, the research team will contact the first 2,000 participants, this follow up will include questions about whether they took the medication prescribed.

Dr David Arnold, NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine in Bristol Medical School: Translational Health Sciences (THS) and Respiratory Registrar at NBT, who is joint lead of the trial, said: "Pneumonia is the commonest cause of unplanned hospital admissions worldwide. It has been shown that patients recovering from pneumonia have an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke due to the stress of infection on the body.

"Aspirin has been used for decades to reduce the chance of having a heart attack or stroke in patients at high risk of either event.  We hope our trial will show it reduces the risk to patients with pneumonia and that it can save lives too."

Pneumonia is an inflammation of one or both lungs, usually caused by infection. Pneumonia is very common with 270,000 patients admitted as an emergency to hospital in England every year. Most people recover completely but some have complications. Two of the most significant complications are heart attack or stroke. Around 1 in 13 patients (8%) who are admitted to hospital with pneumonia have a heart attack or stroke within three months.

'Aspirin after hospitalisation with Pneumonia to prevent cardiovascular Events randomised Controlled Trial' (ASPECT) is a four-year trial.

Project Details

Principal Investigator: Dr Nick Maskell

Planned End Date: 31/08/2025

Local Ref: 5019

Asthma Study


Pressurised Metered dose inhalers (pMDI) are used worldwide to deliver asthma drugs to the lungs. They contain hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) or Hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) propellants which contribute to global warming. Some pMDI propellants contribute nearly 1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year in England alone and some are the equivalent of driving 600 miles in your car. In 2014 pMDI propellants were responsible for 3% of the global HFC CO2 emissions. To put this in context- using your reliever inhaler just twice a day can contribute the equivalent carbon emissions of driving your car 2 miles. 

But there are other propellants that deliver these drugs safely and effectively without the same impact on the environment. We are testing a new propellant and need your help. 

Am I Eligible? 

  • Have you been given a diagnosis of mild asthma that requires an inhaler? 

  • Are you aged 18-75 years? 

  • Are you a lifelong non-smoker? 

  • Would you be willing to attend the Clinical Research Building at Southmead Hospital on 4 separate occasions? 

What does the study involve? 

We will ask you to come to the Hospital on 4 separate occasions. We will test your lung function and perform a heart tracing (ECG) on three of the visits. We will also take a blood test, urine test and perform a pregnancy test if applicable. If you are eligible we will randomise you to one of two groups to test 2 propellants in 2 different visits (1 propellant in 1 visit and 1 propellant in the subsequent visit) and monitor you with the above tests while you do so. You will be free to end your participation in the study at any stage and we will not require a reason. 

Will I be compensated? 

Yes. You will receive compensation of up to £675 for your participation in this study. This includes the cost of taxis that will be booked for you to a maximum of £50 per visit. 

If you are interested, then please contact the Respiratory Research Department on 0117 41 48114 or

UK Lung Volume Reduction: Multi-centre Observational Study

Many people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remain very breathless and limited. In some patients, with the appropriate pattern of emphysema, an operation called lung volume reduction surgery is effective at removing the worst affected area of lung. New techniques have been developed where emphysema can be treated using a fibre-optic camera called a bronchoscope. Trials have shown that using a bronchoscope to place endobronchial valves into the airways can be very effective in carefully selected patients and the technique is now being adopted in hospitals across the UK.

This study will collect data from people undergoing these procedures at hospitals across the UK to evaluate how well they work in practice and what factors at baseline influence response. Baseline, three month and 12 month follow up data will be collected. This will include lung function data, measures of exercise capacity, questionnaires about health status and CT scan results. Questions addressed will include:

  • What lung function improvement is seen in clinical practice?
  • What factors determine who is most likely to respond?
  • How safe are the procedures and what is the rate of complications?
  • What proportion of people undergoing bronchoscopic procedures require repeat procedures or surgery subsequently?
  • Does long term survival differ between people undergoing the different treatments?

The study is supported by The British Lung Foundation and sponsored by Imperial College, London. By building collaboration, the establishment of the network will also produce a structure that will make evaluation of future bronchoscopic techniques easier bringing innovative treatments into play more quickly.

Project Details

Principal Investigator: Dr James Dodd
Planned End Date: 30/06/2026
Local Ref: 4076

Pleural Antibiotic Concentrations Informing Treatment (PACT) Study

When people get chest infections, fluid can sometimes build up around the lung. This is called a parapneumonic pleural effusion. In about 1 in 10 cases, the fluid itself becomes infected, this is called pleural infection. Pleural infection is usually treated by removing the infected fluid and using antibiotics to mop up the left-over infection.

Patients with pleural infection often receive long courses of intravenous antibiotics because doctors are uncertain of how well antibiotics reach the infected pleural fluid and whether bacteria are becoming resistant to them.

The Pleural Antibiotic Concentrations informing Treatment (PACT) study is observational and aims to see how well antibiotics are reaching the infected fluid, and how quickly the bacteria are being killed. To answer this, we will collect samples of pleural fluid from participants who are being treated for pleural infection with pleural drainage. This fluid will be tested to measure how much antibiotic has managed to get into it. We can then tell if the antibiotics are reaching high enough concentrations to kill bacteria. We will also be testing this fluid to see if the bacteria are being killed by the antibiotic or not. In the future, this information may shorten the time patients are treated with intravenous antibiotics and therefore how long they need to stay in hospital.

Project Details
Principal Investigator: TBC
Planned End Date: TBC
Local Ref: 4581


The purpose of the study is to evaluate how effective dupilumab is and how safe it is in reducing the signs and symptoms in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) who have a high level of blood eosinophils and are in need of additional treatment.

COPD is a highly prevalent disease, associated with significant economic burden, and for which available standard-of-care therapies show insufficient treatment effect on symptoms, lung function, exacerbations and long-term progression of the disease.

Although the inflammatory component in COPD is typically thought to be neutrophils, a subgroup of COPD patients have been identified who have a high level of blood eosinophils therefore suggesting a Type 2 inflammatory component of the disease.

The study is a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled study and is planned to include approximately 924 participants. Each participant will be involved in the study for approximately 68 weeks and will attend approximately 19 visits to the research site. All participants will receive standard of care background medication throughout the study. Most participants will be expected to administer study drug at home between study visits.

Project Details
Principal Investigator: TBC
Planned End Date: TBC
Local Ref: 4823

The effectiveness and risks of Treating people with Idiopathic Pulmonary fibrosis with the Addition of Lansoprazole (TIPAL)

IPF is a progressive scarring lung condition causing coughing and breathlessness. IPF patients often have reflux disease meaning stomach acid may be breathed into the lungs, potentially damaging them. Medicines which stop stomach acid production, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), can be used to reduce reflux symptoms including heartburn. Some researchers suggest PPIs also reduce IPF progression.

This research aims to see if IPF progresses slower if treated with PPIs. Based on the results, we will be able to recommend whether or not IPF patients should take PPIs.

This trial will involve 298 IPF patients from approximately 37 UK hospitals. At the beginning of the study, we will ask patients to perform breathing tests, and ask those with a cough to use a device to count the number of times they cough in 24hours. We will ask them to answer two questions rating their coughing and breathlessness, and complete questionnaires on their coughing, IPF, sleep habits and general condition. People will be given a PPI, called lansoprazole, or dummy tablets, twice per day for 12 months. They will be given a leaflet telling them what to do about reflux symptoms. At the end of the study, we will repeat these tests and analyse the results. We will record any side effects people may get. If people suffer side effects, they can reduce the dose.

People taking medicines that interact with PPIs or have other serious medical conditions won’t be able to participate. People receiving PPIs will only be able to participate if they can stop taking their medication without their heartburn returning.

The study will be undertaken by doctors and researchers with experience of IPF, reflux disease, PPIs and coughing. We will publicise our results by writing reports for medical publications, media articles and social media.

Project Details
Principal Investigator: TBC
Planned End Date: TBC
Local Ref: 4672

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About Research & Development

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Contact Research

Research & Development
North Bristol NHS Trust
Level 3, Learning & Research building
Southmead Hospital
Bristol, BS10 5NB

Telephone: 0117 4149330