CURE in brief

CURE, a research project funded by the EU programme Horizon 2020, proposes a phage therapy to rebalance the structure of the microbiome[1] in the airways, with the hypothesis that this may also control the immune dysregulation[2] of asthma and eventually even cure it. To achieve this, researchers at CURE will need to predict with accuracy and repeatability the microbiological, immunological and clinical effects of adding several types of phages to the microbiological environment of the airways and design appropriate interventions.

Through CURE, we will first determine the characteristics and dynamics of the human respiratory microbiome in healthy subjects and in people with asthma, by describing in detail the currently unexplored virome[3], the viral-bacterial interactions network and their perturbations in time, as well as evaluating and quantifying interactions between the respiratory metagenome[4] composition, host responses[5] and clinical activity. This first step will allow us to develop a predictive model on the impact of phage interventions on microbial environments and clinical activity, thus guiding the design of well-characterised phages collection, clinically relevant to potentially treat asthma.


[1] The microbiome comprises all of the genetic material within a microbiota (the entire collection of microorganisms in a specific niche, such as the human gut). This can also be referred to as the metagenome of the microbiota. Source:

[2] The immune system functions to prevent and decelerate the local establishment or systemic dissemination of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. When there are abnormalities of immune regulation, we talk about immune dysregulation. Source:

[3] The human virome is composed by the set of all viruses, eukaryotic and prokaryotic, present in the human body; as each body compartment constitutes a different microenvironment, the virome varies with the body part.


[4] Metagenome refers to the collective genome of microorganisms from an environmental sample.


[5] Host response refers to the process by which the host interacts with, and responds to, triggering agents that colonize or infect it. This includes defense mechanisms such as the immune response. Source: