The project is divided into different work packages (WP) to cover the following areas:
Will compile clinical data in order to build a data knowledge platform. This will include highly detailed imaging of patients’ respiratory systems and the collection of tissue samples.
Will create genomic datasets, using extensive and detailed existing and new data. Exploiting recent analytical advances, different data sets will be compared to give a deeper understanding of what occurs in the respiratory systems of asthma patients.
Will develop a ‘micro-scale’ model of an airway which will be integrated with a ‘macro-scale’ airway model developed by later work packages. The modelling investigates whether environmental effects cause the airways to change in form and size and aims to create a model which can predict changes in lung development according to individual patient experiences.
Work package four will create a system to compile data from three existing tools to automatically provide an extensive data analysis which can be used for large airway modelling.
Will build on existing large airway models of patients with asthma and COPD to generate a patient-specific ‘macro-scale’ computational airway model.
Will test the validity of using gas diffusion MRI in measuring the functioning of small airways in asthma and COPD patients. It is expected that this technique will represent a significant improvement over existing methodologies such as CT scans. A number of proof studies, such as the effect of steroids, will be used to assess this methodology, and established models of airway development will be further developed using this technique.
Will establish and maintain a secure and sustainable data storage exchange and processing facility. This will include storage of clinical, physiological, genetic, and imaging data which can then be used in further analysis within the project and for future research work in the field. This will enable a cross-discipline resource that facilitates information flow and leaves a substantial data legacy after the project has ended.
Will integrate the computational models from work packages three to six in order to extend the statistical modelling undertaken in work package two with the aim of developing a patient-specific multi-scale predictive computational airway model. This model will then use the gene-environment interaction findings to predict the development of asthma or COPD for each individual patient, thereby revolutionising the treatment that the patient receives through individualising that treatment.
Will create, maintain and update a website which will be used as a tool to disseminate and communicate information, results and key messages on AirPROM. A CME educational workshop targeting clinicians specialised in respiratory medicine will also be prepared and executed during the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Congress.