The U-BIOPRED project has achieved its goal of recruiting 1,025 people (including almost 300 children) to take part in the study on severe asthma.
Severe asthma is notoriously difficult to treat, and the aim of U-BIOPRED is to find out why.
People with different kinds of asthma have been recruited, including non-smoking adults, smokers with severe asthma, children and adults with severe and mild asthma, as well as children with wheezing, and healthy adults. These volunteers have given blood and tissue samples, exhaled air samples, and reports of their symptoms. They have also had lung function tests and examinations of their airways.
The researchers are now using this data to build up a detailed picture (or ‘handprint’) of each individual’s condition. By comparing data from so many different people, the team hopes to identify groups of patients with similar handprints. These groups will allow researchers to define different kinds of severe asthma, and develop personalised treatments for patients.
'We are now starting to perform analyses on the data,' explained project coordinator Dr Peter Sterk. 'This is being done by a strong, collaborative effort – the most modern analytical and statistical technology is available and is being worked with during the interim analyses of the data'.
Patients are involved throughout the project; as well as taking part in the clinical study; they have provided advice on ethical, scientific, and communication issues, giving the patient's perspective throughout.