6 work packages, 9 partners, 1 objective:
set the ground to find a way to cure asthma
The CURE project is structured in 6 work packages addressing current challenges and bottlenecks that need to be surpassed to take our hypothesis forward.
Since the beginning of the project the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (N.K.U.A) and the Medical University of Lodz (MUL), clinical partners of CURE, have been cooperating to track in time variations in respiratory symptoms, microbiome imbalances and its perturbations from patients with asthma and healthy subjects, in order to unravel clinical phenotypes in relation to the microbiome. The patients involved in the project will be followed during a year, using questionnaires and physiological measurements including lung function, inflammation, responsiveness and immune status. All the data collected from the healthy subjects and asthma patients will serve as a baseline for the subsequent metagenomics analysis, host status and bacterial cultures and phage isolation.
The Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research (SIAF) and the Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens (BRFAA) are focused on evaluating the immunological reactions of our body in relation to the microbial composition and diversity of our respiratory track as well as to understand the body’s response caused by the immune system, from a mechanical point of view, into the effects of phages introduction on asthmatic patients. Particularly, at SIAF researchers are testing the effects of phages on epithelial barrier integrity and BRFAA is examining the effect of direct exposure of mononuclear cells to phages.
The University of Manchester (UMAN) will define the respiratory microbial ecology (classification of species, diversity, richness and abundance), function (microbial gene expression, signalling pathway and gene ontology enrichment), genetic composition, evolution and interactions (correlation matrices and topology of co-occurrence networks) from the data collected of the patients participating in the project, using metagenomics. The work carried out by UMAN will bring to the project an overall insight of the microbial ecology and how it evolves in time.
The Georgi Eliava Institute of Bacteriophagy, Microbiology and Virology (ELIAVA) and the ELIAVA Bio Preparations LTD (ELIBIO) are working together in order to generate a well-characterised collection of bacteriophages able to target bacteria relevant in asthma. In this sense, ELIAVA will be working, specifically, on identifying, isolating and characterising phages to tackle ‘bad’ respiratory bacteria, enabling ELIBIO to construct prototypes of phage mixtures relevant to different phenotypes of asthma.
All the work developed by the partners will enable the University of Manchester to develop and fit mathematical models to predict the microbiome ecological changes and design clinical responses. In particular, the mathematical models will help to understand balanced situations and key common points, such as which organisms are likely to balance or disrupt the system as well as allowing to predict the ecological dynamics of the respiratory microbiome after the introduction of phages.
The good coordination and the management of all project documents and administrative tasks are guaranteed by a specialised company EXELIXIS, while the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients Associations is making sure that all project outcomes and results are properly and constantly communicated to the public and in particular to people with asthma, the main beneficiary of CURE.
 A microbial culture refers to a technique used in microbiology, letting microorganisms reproduce under controlled laboratory conditions, used to determine a type of organism and/or its abundance in a sample. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microbiological_culture