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Monday, December 12, 2016

Novel Diagnostics for Lung Diseases.

Dr. Jan De Backer gave an illuminating presentation about diagnosing lung diseases with Functional Respiratory Imaging, or FRI at the Mimics Innovation Conference. It’s is a proprietary technology that combines high-resolution CT scans with computer-based flow simulations. He explained that currently, doctors assess lung function by asking patients to forcefully exhale into a tube. The amount of air that can be exhaled is the main parameter that is used to determine how healthy or ill a patient is if they suffer from lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (smoker’s lungs), cystic fibrosis etc. With this conventional test however, it is very difficult to know exactly where the exhaled air comes from inside the lungs, where the disease is present in the lungs and, if the patient uses an inhaler, whether the drugs reach the right areas. FRI provides a detailed look inside the lungs and can very accurately determine which areas in the lungs are more affected by the disease and whether the inhaled drug particles reach the right areas. These enhanced capabilities result in smaller, shorter and hence cheaper clinical trials so better drugs can come to market faster. In addition, FRI allows the doctor to select the optimal treatment for individual patients in clinical practice, thereby avoiding the costly trial-and-error approach. FRI is increasingly used in clinical trials and practices worldwide and facilitates the transition to personalized medicine. Thanks