A team of scientists at the University of Leicester is working in partnership with Mologic has unveiled an innovative technology which could “hugely improve” the quality of life for people who suffer from a serious lung condition called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

A team from the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre has been working alongside the UK company Mologic to further develop the Headstart® urine test, which alerts people with COPD that they are about to suffer a life-limiting lung attack.

The simple, in-home Headstart test has already passed the first stage of the development process and could be adopted for use by the NHS within four-to-five years.

Professor Christopher Brightling, who is a NIHR Senior Research Fellow and Clinical Professor in Respiratory Medicine at the University of Leicester, leads the clinical study at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, based at the Glenfield Hospital.

Professor Brightling said: “People with COPD get life-threatening lung attacks. This simple urine test will help someone with COPD to determine whether the onset of more symptoms really is the beginning of a severe lung attack, or simply a variation in their background symptoms which will get better on their own. This will help to make better treatment decisions and could hugely improve lives, especially as severe lung attacks can be devastating

“We believe the Headstart urine test shows real promise, particularly as it can be carried out by patients at home. Making sure we treat patients early when needed but also stop unnecessary treatment will be of great benefit to patients and reduce costs for an over-stretched NHS.”

See the university’s website for more information.