AN Oxford University researcher has received a £1m grant to expand his research into treatment of lung diseases, including asthma.

Dr Tim Hinks, a senior clinical researcher in the Experimental Medicine Division of the University’s Nuffield Department of Medicine, says the funding will allow the Oxford Respiratory Unit to look into the mechanisms which cause asthma attacks and work towards a more effective treatment.

The research will also look into the use of antibiotics to treat asthma following a successful trial using Azithromycin in 2017.

Deaths related to asthma are often caused by infections which activate immune cells of the airways causing inflammation.

Dr Hinks, who is also supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, said: "If I achieve my goal we will better understand the immune responses which protect us from lung infections.

"This is essential to defining which patients with asthma should receive Azithromycin and whether there are better alternative therapies.

"If alternatives can be used we can save this valuable medicine for other uses, reducing antibiotic resistance."

Dr Hinks will also look into the effects of inhaling molecules from Vitamin B12 which he has previously proven can help boost the response of immune cells which are often missing in asthma patients as a result of the steroids used to treat the condition.

The funding was awarded as part of a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship.