About 1 in 7 people have a lung disease, almost without exception leading to extremely debilitating symptoms and loss of quality of life and productivity. The fact that the number of patients with lung diseases is still increasing is a major concern. The healthy lung has a complex defense mechanism towards continuous exposure to the environment. A failing defense mechanism leads to accumulating lung damage, ultimately manifesting in symptoms and respiratory disease such as asthma, COPD and lung cancer. Lung disease is often associated with damage to other organs, such as the heart, bone, and skeletal muscles.
There are currently no adequate strategies to prevent toxic environmental exposure or progression from external insults to lung disease. Moreover, very few approaches are known to support repair of lung and extra-pulmonary tissue once disease has developed. A major impediment to the development of such strategies is the large heterogeneity in phenotypic presentation amongst individual patients with chronic lung diseases. In addition, the currently available diagnostic tools are insufficient to detect the damage in early, preclinical / asymptomatic stages.
Identification of novel biomarkers that reflect early damage is essential to build a fundamental new approach towards lung disease. These biomarkers can also be used to monitor long-term damage processes and develop personalized lifestyle interventions. In addition, more advanced in vitro models are needed to increase insight into lung damage and disease.
We're proud to be a part of the Dutch consortium “Precision Medicine for more Oxygen” (P4O2), which will start a research program to fundamentally improve the early detection, prevention, and treatment of lung disease. In the consortium, we will be working together with top researchers, private partners, and patient representatives who aim to stimulate an internationally leading position in lung research for the Netherlands.Read the press release