Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A global team of researchers, including members of the China Kadoorie Biobank team at Oxford Population Health, have identified over 500 new genes that have been linked to lung health for the first time. The study results will inform future research that can lead to the developing of new treatments for respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The results are published in Nature Genetics.

Genome-wide association studies help us to understand which of our genes are associated with how our bodies function. Establishing which of our genes are involved in lung function is important because this information can help us to identify targets for new and existing medicines to prevent and treat diseases such as COPD, which is the third leading cause of premature death globally.

The study, which was led by the University of Leicester and the University of Nottingham, is the largest and most ethnically-diverse study of its kind. The researchers analysed genetic data from 580,869 participants around the world to build the most confident picture yet of how our genes affect our lung health. By bringing together data from multiple studies, including China Kadoorie Biobank, the researchers have been able to identify 559 genes relating to lung function, which can be used to generate individual risk scores that could lead to more personalised and effective treatment for lung disease.

Associate Professor Robin Walters, Senior Genetic Scientist for China Kadoorie Biobank and one of the study authors, said ‘This study demonstrates the incredible value that the China Kadoorie Biobank delivers in helping us to understand why people develop disease and identifying pathways towards new medicines for disease prevention and treatment. The majority of people who participate in genetic studies are from European backgrounds and this makes the inclusion of data from China Kadoorie Biobank participants in large-scale genomics studies all the more vital.’