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Understanding the host-environmental interactions across the lifespan determining lung function trajectories and COPD

Project description

Early drivers of lung function and disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with persistent and progressive breathing problems that emerge from airflow blockage. COPD has long been envisaged as a result of exposure to harmful gases. Emerging evidence suggests that other parameters such as genetics and the environment during development or early life affect lung development and susceptibility to COPD and other morbidities. The ERC-funded PredictCOPD project aims to identify the biological factors and mechanisms that affect lung resilience and function and may lead to COPD. Identification of early disease targets may help treat COPD and promote healthy ageing.

Objective

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has been traditionally understood as a self-inflicted disease caused by tobacco smoking occurring in old individuals. Over the past few years, however, our group and others have proposed that the pathogenesis of COPD goes beyond smoking, and that there is a range of lung function trajectories through life (trajectome); some of them have roots in early life and can lead to COPD, cardiovascular and metabolic morbidity as well as premature death, while others are associated with healthy ageing. Here I propose that, detrimental gene (G) and environment (E) interactions occurring early in life (T) constitute a ‘first injury hit’ that alters the normal lung developmental program and modify the pace of normal lung aging by reducing the resilience of the lungs to future GxExT interactions. Accordingly, lifelong GxExT interactions determine the individual trajectome and, eventually, the occurrence of COPD and associated multimorbidity. PredictCOPD aims to identify the interactions and mechanisms that determine which individuals will develop COPD and multimorbidty at some point of their life.
The specific aims are: 1) to identify the lifelong environmental and host risk factors associated with the trajectome, COPD and multimorbidity, 2) to use a novel liquid biopsy method to identify biological factors driving the trajectome, COPD and multimorbidity; 3) to identify clinically relevant preventive and/or early therapeutic targets integrating the results from aims 1 and 2 with novel analytical approaches and 4) to validate findings both in vitro and in other available cohorts.
The project will leverage from several available population and COPD patient studies with available clinical data and biological samples. The results of PredictCOPD have the potential to: 1) promote healthy ageing by preventing and eventually eradicate COPD and associated multimorbidity; and, 2) change COPD treatment from palliative to causal.

Host institution

UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA
Net EU contribution
€ 839 123,75
Address
GRAN VIA DE LES CORTS CATALANES 585
08007 Barcelona
Spain

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Region
Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
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Total cost
€ 869 125,25

Beneficiaries (4)