Biomarkers and Phenotypes

The aim of the project „Biomarkers in exhaled breath and airway fluid“, being carried out at  the Fraunhofer ITEM, is the development and evaluation of new sensitive biomarkers that help to improve identification and classification of disease phenotypes, allow assessment of disease progression and which can be used for the evaluation of the safety and efficacy of new anti-inflammatory medication. Biomarker candidates are evaluated in exhaled breath (volatile molecules, particles) and in epithelial fluid. In addition, imaging processes for the quantification of inflammatory changes using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are being developed and FRET-based technologies investigated.

In a cooperation between the Fraunhofer Institute and the Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at the MHH, research is being carried out on  „Development and adaptation of MRT sequences for the detection, quantification and follow-up of inflammatory airway changes“. For this purpose, MRT sequences and measurement protocols for the recognition of inflammation after segmental allergen provocation have been established and optimized.

In the pilot phase, it was shown that both the MRT TIRM score and the quantification of the oxygen-supported MRT imaging in principle seem to be suitable for quantifying inflammation in the lung. These MRT protocols are available for future investigations in COPD patients.