Research within the DZL will be focused on eight indications: asthma and allergic diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, acute lung damage and inflammation of the lung (pneumonia), interstitial lung diseases/lung fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, end-stage lung diseases, and lung cancer.
The Fraunhofer ITEM (BREATH) is playing a major role in particular in the research on asthma and allergies and on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In these areas, the institute is contributing many years of experience in research and clinical studies. The approach is cross-disciplinary and application-oriented. With regard to asthma, for example, the aim is to identify factors playing a key role in the pathological processes on the cellular and molecular levels and correlate these with different types of asthma. In addition, targets and biomarkers will be evaluated in different models. Furthermore, the course of disease will be monitored in asthma patients over a prolonged period of time, selected types of bronchial asthma will be characterized using state-of-the-art methods of molecular biology, and based on these findings novel targets and biomarkers will be developed. In COPD research, exhaled air analyses and imaging technology will be used to develop novel biomarkers that can help predict the course of disease and allow the airway inflammation to be visualized, thus contributing to a more differentiated diagnosis. In addition, new anti-inflammatory drugs for COPD treatment will be developed. The final objective is the development and testing of disease-specific and individualized therapies.