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Useful terms

Useful terms


That which is releated to insitutes of higher learning and research - Universities.


Atopy (atopic syndrome) is a syndrome characterised by a tendency to be “hyperallergic”. A person with atopy typically presents with one or more of the following: eczema (atopic dermatitis), allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic conjunctivitis, or allergic asthma. Patients with atopy also have a tendency to have food allergies.


Chemicals in the blood, breath, urine, or sputum that can indicate the functioning of the body, or provide some indication as to the improvement in a particular disease or effect of a medicine quicker than waiting for the long term effects to be seen.  For example a good biomarker for asthma would be one that we could measure in blood and which then be used to predict who is going to get worse over time. In asthma, and severe asthma in particular, finding a single biomarker has been very difficult.

Biopharma industry

Companies that work to make new medicines for treating people.


This refers to limitations in drug and new treatment development that slow down the process.  It now takes years to develop new medicines and even late in the development process we can sometimes find out that the new medicine does not work.  Thus, if the ability for a medicine to work can be predicted at an early stage less time can be spent on finding out if a drug works or not , there will be less of a 'bottleneck' in the development process.


The opening of the airways within the lung.  This is what occurs when common inhaled medicines "beta agonists, albuterol, relievers' are inhaled.  This reduces the amount of work required to breath and makes one less short of breath.


The procedure carried out by a doctor to look at your throat, larynx, trachea, airways and lungs through a thin viewing instrument called a bronchoscope. It is used to diagnose and treat lung diseases.


The act of collecting cells that are on airways by "brushing' the airway with a small brush inserted through a fiber optic scope that is placed into the airways.

Clinical trial

A research study that looks to see how good a medicine works, often new medicines that are being tested.  This usually involves a group of patients some of which are receiving the medicine and some of which are receiving a placebo or "dummy" pill, or a routine medicine.  Those patients receiving the medicine are compared to others to see if the medicine works better, or has any side effects.

Clinical subphenotyping

The process of separating patients that all have one disease, i.e. asthma, into groups based upon measurements and characteristics.

Cohort studies

A clinical research study that examines  a group of individuals either at one point or over time.


A group of research insitutions, companies, and non-governmental organizations that has come together to perform a research study most commonly through the European Union's Framework program.

Diagnostic criteria

A list of measurements, characteristics, or features that need to be present in an individual before a certain diagnosis can be made.


How good something works.  A medicine with a high efficacy makes people better.


European Medicines Agency. Its main responsibility is the protection and promotion of public and animal health, through the evaluation and supervision of medicines for human and veterinary use.

Endobronchial biopsy

A piece of the airway is taken by inserting a small pincher into the airway through a fiberoptic scope.


This is when asthma, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) becomes temporarily worse requiring more treatment.

Gold Standard

A term that refers to the best of something that is available.  Used in the context of research to compare a new treatment or diagnostic procedure against the best available.  Is it better than the "gold standard".


Variable and not the same throughout. Opposite of homogeneous which is the same throughout. Used in this context to refer to the fact that all patients with asthma are not alike.

High Dimensional Data

This is a type of data that is created when a measurement technique provides measurements on thousands of different compounds all at once.

Human genome project

A research project in which all human genes were identified using advanced techniques that allow us to measure genes.  Genes are contained on DNA which is a molecule within the cells of our body and genes direct the characteristics of our body such as eye color.  The human genome project was an advancement because old techniques required sometimes days to identify a single gene.  Now thousands can be identified in few hours.

Lung biopsies

A piece of the lung that is taken using either a tube with a camera inserted into the lung via the mouth, or during a surgical procedure.

Molecular biology

This is the study of molecules that are important to biology and often include genes, proteins etc that function on microscopic level.

Multi-dimensional invasive biomarkers

Biomarkers that are comprised of multiple substances, or chemicals that are measured in various manner. 

Multinational industry

An industry, or a company that is located in multiple different countries.  Pharmaceutical companies are good examples of these.

Non-invasive biomarkers

Biomarkers that do not require an invasive procedure such as drawing of blood or a biopsy to measure them.

“Omics” techniques

These are state of the art techniques for measuring substances in the body, proteins, DNA etc. that allow for a relatively quick measurement of thousands of compounds.  This means that we can measure much of what is happening in the body for the first time.  Previous techniques allowed only for measurement of a few substances at a time meaning that what can now be done in hours would take months if not years to measure.

Parenteral corticosteroid

These are steroids that are given by injection.


Another term for cause or origin.


That which is related to the cause of a disease or condition.


This refers to the process of monitoring the safety and benefit of the benefit of a medicine.


This term refers to the various different forms of a disease. It is derived from genetics in which the genes an invidual has are referred to as genotype and how those genes manifest in an individual are the phenotype. Blue eyes is a phenotype.

Preclinical development

This stage of development is that which occurs prior to testing in patients.  In other words experiments on new treatments or in order to find new treatments that occur in the laboratory.

Pre-competitive barriers

These are barriers to medicine development that all companies face such as the speed of development or predicting how good a drug will work.  So, focus on these barriers will help all companies.

Predicitive pharmacology

Predicting the safety or benefit of a medicine.

Rhinovirus inoculation

The act of placing a cold virus into the airways or lungs of an individual, animal, or a group of cells.

Small to medium enterprises

Companies that are relatively small <250 employees and < 50 million in total receipts.


Standard operating procedures - refers to a list of tasks or requirements for a process or procedure.


Material coughed up from deep in the lung.

Stakeholder groups

Any group of individuals that can be affected by a particular research project,i.e. the public, patients, researchers, regulators, companies.

Systems biology

A field of research that attempts to study biology as a group of connected systems, networks or pathways usually creating a mathematical or computational model, not unlike what is used to predict the weather, that encompassess multiple of these systems into one model that can then be used to make predictions.


Study of the negative effects of medicine or any substance.

Translational integration

This refers to the combination of many different types of data that are created by measuring people, or in experiments in a laboratory.  Often these data types are kept separate, U-BIOPRED is unique in that it will be attempting to combine these data.

Translational medicine

Translational medicine is that which makes the link between what happens in the laboratory and the treatment of patients.  With the new era of state of the art tehniques allowing us to measure genes etc for each individual this will become more and more how medicine is practiced.