Role of ATP in chronic cough


  • Prof Jaclyn Smith

    University of Manchester

  • Prof Maria Belvisi

    Imperial College London

Project summary

Cough is the most common condition for which patients see their doctors, and yet there are very few treatments for it. Coughing occurs when airway nerves are activated, for example by irritating chemicals in the air, changes in temperature and choking on food. For many people with a chronic cough we think the nerves controlling cough are overactive and this may be caused by a chemical in the airways known as ATP. This idea comes from recent studies showing that a treatment that blocks the effect of ATP on nerves improved cough by 75 per cent in chronic cough of unknown cause. However, not everyone responded to the treatment and we don’t know whether the new treatment might work in all types of cough, such as in asthma, smoking-related lung conditions, lung fibrosis or other lung diseases.

Our research aims to understand why this new treatment works in some people. We will develop tests that would tell a doctor which patients and which types of coughs might respond best to new treatments and work out what sort of other new treatments might help to treat cough and other ATP-related symptoms or overactive airway nerves.