New European project aiming to create a 'lung atlas'
DiscovAIR is an exciting new European project. DiscovAIR aims to create a ‘lung atlas’. This will be a detailed computer image of a healthy lung. It will contain images of the cells that the lung is made of and will go on to show how the cells fit together to make-up the lungs. The model will be of a healthy lung but there will be options to look at lung diseases such as:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and
- idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
This will allow scientists to easily see how the lung would react in different situations in a lot of detail. This means that they will be able to perform important research that will contribute to advances in medicine. The hope is that it will be possible to see how the cells of the lung would interact with different medications which will improve the development of treatments.
Patients and the public will also be able to use the tool to gain a better understanding of how their lungs work, how lungs with a disease are different to healthy lungs, and how medicines work on their lungs.
DiscovAIR are working closely with the European Lung Foundation (ELF) to get input from patients about what they would like to see from the atlas and to help to produce clear information that will be presented back to patients and the public.
Members of the ELF team met with the rest of the DiscovAIR team in Estoril on 10 March. Here we discussed the aims of DiscovAIR and worked with various stakeholders (patients, scientists and healthcare professionals) to make sure that the project will meet the needs of each of these groups.
At the meeting the groups discussed what was important to them about the project. The patient group agreed that the DiscovAIR team should include the following features to allow patients to get the most out of the tool:
- basic information that teaches about the lungs and the types of cells in the lungs
- information that can be accessed by clicking on different parts of the lung
- information about how patients’ lungs are different to healthy lungs.
Patient advisory members will work with the team throughout the project to make sure that the tool is as useful to patients as it is for professionals. Patients, healthcare professionals and scientists had very different needs, so the ongoing support of patients is important to the success of DiscovAIR.