Lung disease is caused by viruses and bacteria. Microplastics and the climate also have a negative impact on the airways. We fund research into prevention, treatment and environmental effects on the respiratory system. Professional practitioners can use the results of this research in their work.

Knowledge about preventing lung disease

Lung disease is the fourth largest cause of death in the Netherlands. Chronic lung disease affects 1.2 million children and adults. Research provides more knowledge about prevention and treatment. (Source: Longfonds)

Preventing lung disease

We aim to reduce the number of people with lung disease in the Netherlands, by funding research into prevention, for example. Population screening can discover lung cancer at an early stage, allowing tumours to be treated more effectively, and saving lives. Vaccination can also prevent certain diseases of the respiratory system, such as the TB vaccination for at-risk groups.

Lung cancer screening

Each year 14,000 people in the Netherlands are diagnosed with lung cancer, and around half of them already have metastases by that point. At 17%, the five-year survival rate is low. Every year, 10,000 people die of lung cancer in the Netherlands.

Negative impact of environmental factors on lung function

Unhealthy air impacts the human lungs, and can cause or exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD. Passive smoking is also harmful to health and increases the risk of lung cancer. It is therefore important to reduce exposure to polluted air.


Microplastics occur in the air, in drinking water and in food. They have a negative impact on the health of the lungs. Read more about disrupted lung function caused by microplastics.


In early 2020 the virus SARS-COV-2 led to a global pandemic of the infectious disease COVID-19, which affected many people all over the world. The disease mainly affects the respiratory system, particularly the lungs and the upper airways. Our thematic page on COVID-19 contains more information about research into the cause, treatment, infection, spread and social impact of COVID.