An exchange

Hudson Institute of Medical Research,


Dear Professor Jenkins,
you will no doubt have millions tugging at the hem of your gown if you can improve the lot of us with emphysema, correctly described by Professor Simon Chapman, as the most “wretched” of the tobacco related diseases.

I am in late Stage IV COPD and was diagnosed with severe emphysema aged 42. My mother and uncle had also died prematurely of this disease, as had several bakers among my ancestors.

I am 59 and my FEV1 is 12%. I am on O2 during the day and have battled wasting and most recently am coping with a diagnosis of severe osteoporosis while my lungs have been colonised with pseudomonas.

I am writing to thank you for your work. To cheer you on.  It may not yield fruits in time for me, but I hope others may be spared from this fate.

All the best and no reply needed. I know you are a busy man.

Kind regards, etc

Dear Barbara,

thank you for your email and interest in our work, much appreciated.
Yes I am receiving many such emails currently.

The drug you would have seen in the story is about to undergo clinical
trial testing in Europe for inflammatory bowel disease. As stated in
the story we need to wait for the results from that trial to come
through first before we consider using it for selected lung cancer
and/or emphysema patients. We believe it will take at least 2 years
for all the information from that trial to become available to us. So
we would not be setting up any trial here until at least that time.

I realise that this time frame is not what you probably want to hear,
but unfortunately medical research discoveries and getting approvals
to give patients drugs based on these discoveries is a time-consuming

I can assure you that we as researchers are doing the best we can to
ensure discoveries are passed onto patients as soon as possible.

For any updates on this work, best to refer to our website:

Thank you for your kind words of support, and best wishes.


Judith Durham, aged 73, still living with a lifelong lung disease: