EU projects update

EFA attends the 2014 AirPROM Annual Meeting in Barcelona

The annual meeting for Airway Disease Predicting Outcomes through Patient Specific Computational Modelling (AirPROM) took place on April 24-25th with EFA staff members Susanna Palkonen, David Brennan and Marina Schmitz in attendance. The project, which began in 2011, seeks to create digital and physical models of airway systems of people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Overall, the models intend to improve diagnosis, disease monitoring, matching of treatments to patients, identifying targets for research, understanding of the diseases themselves and the quality of life of patients through the use of personalized medicine.

The AirPROM coordinator, Professor Chris Brightling from the University of Leicester, confirmed the project would be receiving datasets from other research projects on asthma and COPD. This data will be integrated with all datasets from clinical trials and studies from within AirPROM for a more robust basis for moving forwards with research within AirPROM, for example in allowing for better comparisons of airways disease and emphysema their effects on the respiratory system.

Multiple clinical studies of the AirPROM project were also presented. In a study of thermoplasty, a treatment for patients delivering heat to lung tissue to reduce the amount of smooth muscle present in the airway wall, the objective will be to understand the effects of the procedure and whether or not it works better among some patients than others. Another study on ‘ventilation heterogeneity’ evaluated the various differences between patients in their physical lung defects which hinder their breathing. Understanding the basis of the problem can potentially indicate reasons for the onset of decreasing lung function, especially in diseases where it accelerates quickly, and can be an early indicator for potential airway obstruction in the future. Ongoing work also continues in observing the linkages between biological behavior at the cell level and mechanical behavior at the tissue level.

All of these ongoing studies will be vital for ensuring the construction of the respiratory system models which accurately reflect the effects of different respiratory diseases on patients as well as the potential effects of different treatments. The annual meeting also addressed major issues related to the online ‘knowledge management portal’ and data storage, the consortium publication policy, an application for the project’s extension and an exploitation strategy for the project. EFA confirmed the EU Projects Event in Brussels on June 17th as a dissemination opportunity for the AirPROM consortium.

U-BIOPRED releases a new video series of interviews with consortium members

In April, the dissemination work package of the U-BIOPRED project began releasing video interviews with a diverse group of consortium partners with different roles within the project. To date, there have been four videos released on the U-BIOPRED Twitter account and in the project’s LinkedIn group accompanied by sound bites. The videos were coordinated by the Work Package 9 partners at both the European Respiratory Society Congress 2013 and at U-BIOPRED’s 2014 Annual Meeting.

The first video interview is with David Supple, the Patient Input Platform Chair on patient participation: “One of the challenges of doing research is the engagement with the public so they can see the outcomes”.

The second video interview is with Scott Wagers, CEO of Biosci Consulting talking about how academia can work with industry using the U-BIOPRED project as an example: “For U-BIOPRED, we aimed to create a virtual organization which is highly integrated”.

The third video interview is with Julie Corfield, founder of Areteva, who speaks about bio-banking in U-BIOPRED: “What is important for U-BIOPRED is that all the samples can be accessed for valuable research projects in the future”.

The fourth video interview is with Professor Ratko Djukanovic, Director of both the Southampton NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit as well as the Southampton Centre for Biomedical Research. Professor Djukanovic discusses sample analysis and the outcomes of the overall project: “Most of the technologies we are using are very innovative, they are truly cutting-edge technology”.

Further videos will be released in coming weeks so be sure to follow U-BIOPRED’s Twitter account and join the project’s LinkedIn group!

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