SOUTHAMPTON, England, May 6 /PRNewswire/ --

- Leading Asthma Expert Calls for Action

On the occasion of World Asthma Day on 6 May, leading asthma expert Professor Stephen Holgate from the University of Southampton (UK) says: "I am delighted that the theme of this year's World Asthma Day 'You Can Control Your Asthma' sends out such a positive message. Indeed, with personalised disease management asthma can be controlled in the great majority of asthma patients."

Professor Holgate explains: "Asthma is a complex multi-factorial condition and as such specific patient profiles need to be taken into account to determine the optimal treatment. This is most clearly seen in children with asthma. Asthma is a different disease in children than in adults, and the ongoing growth and maturation of organs affects both the disease course of asthma and the efficacy of medications. Consequently, treatment suitable for adults may not be successful in children."

The need for better asthma management lies at the heart of the Brussels Declaration, a ten-point action plan to make asthma a political and medical priority. The Brussels Declaration was developed by leading asthma experts, together with EU policymakers, regulators and patient groups attending the 'Summit for Change in Asthma Management',(1) which took place in the European Parliament on 18-19 October 2006. The Summit highlighted the new understanding of asthma as a systemic inflammatory disease which affects more than just the lungs, and the vital need to control inflammation.

Professor Stephen Holgate says: "It is regrettable that the latest scientific understanding of asthma as a systemic disease is not reflected in regulatory and clinical guidance. This is for example true for the EMEA (European Medicines Agency) Regulatory Guidance Note on Asthma, which needs to better reflect the real-world patients that we all see as clinicians. As it stands, the current Note is markedly out of date, holding back research and thus preventing advancements that would guide treatment decisions for many important groups of patients. An update of the Guidance Note was called for in the Brussels Declaration. We must act on this and the other points of the Declaration if we are to make a real difference to the lives of asthma patients."

Asthma is a respiratory manifestation of systemic inflammatory processes, which is increasing throughout the world in all age groups, particularly children. Approximately 300 million people around the world have asthma and around 30 million people in Europe have asthma.(2) The disease exerts a significant health economic burden on society, with an annual cost of 17.7 billion Euros across Europe alone.(3) 95% of asthma is controllable given access to appropriate medical care.(4)


(1) Further information about the Summit for Change in Asthma Management and the Brussels Declaration can be found at:

(2) European Federation of the Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association (EFA). Available at


(4) World Health Organization. Let Everybody Breathe: World Asthma Day. Available at:

For further information please contact: Sarah Watts, Media Relations Manager, University of Southampton, +44(0)23-8059-3807,; Professor Stephan Holgate, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life sciences, University of Southampton, +44(0)23-8079-6960,