POC Sensor Platform for Chronic Inflammatory Respiratory Diseases

Nine of the fourteen partners in Leibniz Health Technologies collaborate together as part of the "EXASENS" alliance project on the research of a point-of-care technology to predict and diagnose chronic inflammatory respiratory diseases. This alliance is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with 6.25 million euros and makes a contribution to the expansion and support of the topic of health technologies.

Chronic inflammatory respiratory diseases represent a large portion of the diseases in industrial countries. In the EU, approximately 60 million citizens are affected by these diseases. The economic costs involved are estimated at 380 billion euros a year.

According to the medical journal Pneumology, approximately 4.5 million citizens in Germany suffer from asthma and approximately 7.4 million suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This produces costs of approximately 25 billion euros a year.

The situation is critical for asthma and COPD patients when they have a sudden, acute exacerbation. Severe exacerbations can lead to respiratory failure and be life threatening. Early intervention reduces the necessity of intensive medical care and improves the prognosis. However, false admission to the hospital due to the suspicion of an exacerbation results in additional health care costs of approximately 250-500 million euros a year in Germany alone. This was the result of extrapolated costs from the Pneumology Clinic of the Research Center Borstel.

The prediction and early diagnosis of exacerbations via telemedicine-capable POC diagnostic systems could be a remedy. The complexity of asthma and COPD is one reason for the lack of such systems. There is neither a singular biomarker known for these diseases, nor is there a recognized prognostic criterion for exacerbations available. Taking a holistic approach, the Leibniz research alliance checks which diagnostically available and prognostically significant parameters are particularly well suited for the development of a POC diagnostic system for the prediction of exacerbations in asthma and COPD.

Due to the broad causality and symptoms of these diseases, the prognostic-diagnostic quality can best be achieved in combination with several biomarkers. In the alliance, a modular, chip-based concept for POC diagnostics is being developed and validated in terms of applicability and feasibility.

The goal of POC systems is quick intervention in acute situations, individualized treatment, close monitoring of the progress of treatment, and thus a significant contribution to the improvement of quality of life. The insights gained in this project form the basis for the subsequent implementation of integrated analysis systems involving industrial partners and clinical centers for the implementation and coordination of the first studies and application tests.