Advances in asthma research – Perth leading the charge - Institute for Respiratory Health

Advances in asthma research – Perth leading the charge

Tuesday, May 07, 2024 | News

On World Asthma Day, Tuesday 7 May, Perth proudly stands at the forefront of transformative research in the fight against asthma. The Institute for Respiratory Health is leading the charge with innovative clinical trials that could redefine asthma care globally.

These trials include harnessing the body’s natural electrical signals to better understand lung airflow, employing a novel probe to measure muscle thickness in airway walls and testing groundbreaking non-steroid medications.

Dr Sanjay Ramakrishnan, clinical senior lecturer at the Institute for Respiratory Health and respiratory specialist with special interests in asthma said, “We’re working collaboratively with researchers around the globe, nationally and locally to discover effective new treatments and methods that can significantly improve asthma control without steroids and minimise side effects.

“We’re exploring new ways of assessing asthma, getting the diagnosis right the first time and early community-based assessment of uncontrolled asthma.

“For example, we’re working with researchers in Newcastle to understand if early intervention can reduce the number of flare-ups and steroid tablet courses people require.

“We currently need 300 volunteers to participate in this study aged over 18 who have asthma diagnosed by a doctor, have had 500mg or more of prednisolone in the last two years (equivalent to two five-day courses of tablet steroids).”

Asthma is very common in Australia. It affects around one in nine people of all ages and origins across the country. Despite there being very effective treatments, preventable harm from asthma is extremely common.

This may be something obvious such as emergency department visits, or being unable to play sports. Or it could be something more hidden such as the slow decline in lung function with every wheezy episode, below-average academic performance, high rates of anxiety and depression, or damage from steroid tablets. Asthma costs Australia over $1 billion per year.

“The main issue behind these poor outcomes is education. Most people don’t know what good asthma care looks like,” Dr Ramakrishnan said.  

“This leads to issues with getting an accuate diagnosis, treating asthma using standard therapies, or obtaining a detailed specialist review. Additionally, many are unaware that Perth is a hub for world-class clinical trials, pioneering the delivery of asthma care and the development of innovative assessments and treatments.”

To discover more about the Institute for Respiratory Health’s current asthma clinical trials visit –, or contact Haley Welch at