Members of the U-BIOPRED project gathered in Barcelona last week for the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The meeting, which took place from 21st-22nd January 2013, was an opportunity for project members to meet and discuss the progress of the project and targets for the year ahead.
The members were able to celebrate the project’s achievements; share knowledge and best practice; address concerns; and network. Each work package provided a summary of their activities to all attendees and separate meetings were held to discuss specific issues and targets. A workshop discussing the U-BIOPRED website was also held and will inform an update to the site to improve usability.
Achievements in 2012
- Recruitment has accelerated, with only 126 adult and 40 more child participants needed by March 2013 (when recruitment will finish)
- Groups of post-doctoral scientists from different participating centres are now meeting fortnightly, so that the researchers can work together and discuss their on-going results.
- Data collected already in the study has been looked at and analysed, and the results shows promise of producing asthma ‘handprints’
- Four papers have been published and abstracts have been presented at the European Respiratory Society and American Thoracic Society Conferences
- Public interest in the project has remained high (with over 4,000 visits to the website in 2012 and over 19,000 page views)
- A high-quality virus has been produced for use in trials. This is important for testing in laboratory conditions how infection affects asthma
- Over 90,000 samples, including lung tissue, blood, sputum and urine, have been collected from people with and without asthma. These samples are stored at the U-BIOPRED biobank, which maintains the high quality of the samples and delivers them to centres when needed for analysis
- An online discussion forum has been developed to support communication between the professionals in the project and the patients and patient organisations who are also involved
- Partnerships have been established with TransMART and eTRICKS. These research knowledge management systems provide a central database for the large amount of data coming from the project and make it easier for the different centres to access the data
Focus for 2013
- To review the quality of the data collected and to remove poor or incomplete results (data cleaning)
- To achieve more bronchoscopy samples by contacting existing participants and asking them to have one and through on-going recruitment
- To produce more publications, with lay summaries also available on the U-BIOPRED website
- The type of virus used in the clinical trials has been changed from rhinovirus to influenza so trials will now focus on how the influenza virus affects asthma.
- The pharmaceutical company Merck have entered the project as a partner. A group of their scientists will work with existing members to advance the project
- The European Lung Foundation, who manages the U-BIOPRED website, will be updating the website later this year. The current site will be reviewed and updated to make it easier for the public and professionals to use
- To ask participants to complete a survey on taking part in the project and to invite case studies, to hear about their experiences of participating in the project and to learn how to can best support participation in future projects
The AGM was attended by members of all work packages, the Ethics Board, Patient Input Platform and Safety Monitoring Board.
The next AGM will be in January 2014. The date and venue are yet to be announced.