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This review outlines a new, personalized approach for the classification and management of airway diseases. The current approach to airways disease is, we believe, no longer fit for purpose. It is impractical, overgeneralizes complex and heterogeneous conditions and results in management that is imprecise and outcomes that are worse than they could be. Importantly, the assumptions we make when applying a diagnostic label have impeded new drug discovery and will continue to do so unless we change our approach. This review suggests a new mechanism-based approach where the emphasis is on identification of key causal mechanisms and targeted intervention with treatment based on possession of the relevant mechanism rather than an arbitrary label. We highlight several treatable traits and suggest how they can be identified and managed in different healthcare settings.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical science (London, England : 1979)

Publication Date





1027 - 1043


Nuffield Department of Medicine, NDM Research Building, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7FZ, U.K.


Humans, Respiratory Tract Diseases, Disease Management, Drug Discovery