A team of international experts are set to develop a pioneering tool to help tailor the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as part of a new EU project.
The 5-year AirPROM* project, which is being launched this month (May 2011), will create computed and physical models of the whole airways system, to help scientists and doctors predict how patients might react to different treatments.
The news comes on World Asthma Day (3 May 2011), which aims to raise awareness about asthma and improve asthma care throughout the world.
Damaged, inflamed or obstructed airways are common in people with COPD and asthma, which makes breathing difficult. The current methods to detect and treat these conditions do not always consider individual differences in the airways that make each person unique. As a consequence, people with these conditions may not receive the most effective treatment.
Whilst scientists are working on more advanced, targeted approaches to treatment, they have often been unable to match these treatments to the right patients and explain the reasons behind this until now.
The AirPROM research team, which involves scientists from over 10 European countries, will make a computed model of the cells in an airway and a physical model of the airways, to assess how air flows through the lungs and why it becomes obstructed in people with asthma and COPD.
By using these unique models, along with existing data from tests which measure lung capacity and highly detailed x-rays, known as CT scans, the scientists will be able test new therapies, which will enable them to tailor treatments to the individual.
The aim is to use this information to generate an extensive database that will be able to link the characteristics of different airways to a particular treatment in the future, helping health professionals provide personalised treatment for people with COPD and asthma.
|Contact: Lauren Anderson|
European Lung Foundation