For the first time, patients with ravaged lungs often caused by arthritis or breathing in asbestos will be entitled to a life-extending medicine previously denied them by the NHS.
A successful campaign against the 'inhuman restrictions' placed on the drugs – antifibrotics – mean those with pulmonary fibrosis caused by asbestos inhalation will be among more than 15,000 Britons with the disease who will now have the chance to extend their life by two years or more.
The disease scars the lungs and leads to respiratory failure, but drugs which slow its progression have previously been accessible mainly for patients who develop it in old age.
Sufferers whose illness has been triggered by other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or asbestosis caused by exposure to toxic building insulation, were barred due to a lack of trial data.
Many desperate people instead turned to the internet, with some spending as much as £3,000 a year on antifibrotics.
Carol Fielding, 66, a former NHS nurse from Bolton who developed pulmonary fibrosis in 2018, said: 'I was told because it was brought on by rheumatoid arthritis I didn't meet the criteria for the drugs.
Pulmonary fibrosis scars the lungs and leads to respiratory failure, but drugs which slow its progression have previously been accessible mainly for patients who develop it in old age (file image)
Sufferers whose illness has been triggered by other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or asbestosis caused by exposure to toxic building insulation, were barred due to a lack of trial data (file photo)
Phobias could be passed down generations via genetics.
Experiments show that a traumatic event could affect the DNA, altering the behaviour of following generations.
Scientists in the US trained mice to avoid the smell of cherry blossom.
Years later, they exposed the 'grandchildren' of these mice to the blossom and found they avoided the scent despite never having experienced it.
Professor Marcus Pembrey, a geneticist from University College London, said the findings were 'highly relevant to phobias, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorders' in humans.
'I was shocked, angry and upset all at the same time. I didn't understand how we could be treated like this.
'I've been buying the pills from India since August and already I can feel a difference.
'I'm coughing less and I can breathe easier.
'But it's a scandal that people in my condition have had to go out and buy these expensive drugs.'
Last week, after a five-year review, the NHS spending watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), agreed that patients such as Carol could access antifibrotics.
Professor Gisli Jenkins, a respiratory