Monitoring inflammatory processes
For detailed observation and monitoring of processes in the lungs, our repertoire includes a variety of invasive and noninvasive methods that undergo constant further development.
In clinical trials involving diseases of the airways and in proof-of-concept studies in particular, it is often necessary to quantify the airway inflammation. This can be done by invasive bronchoscopic methods (e.g. bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), bronchosorption, bronchial biopsies, and bronchial brushings) or by noninvasive methods such as sputum analysis and measuring nitric oxide (FeNO) concentrations in exhaled breath. We also test new methods, such as exhaled particles and volatile organic compounds in exhaled breath, and validate these in studies with patients suffering from respiratory diseases.
For this purpose, we have at our disposal established challenge models (ozone, LPS, allergen) that we use to temporarily induce specific inflammatory processes in healthy volunteers or patients with allergic sensitization, followed by sputum analysis to evaluate and compare the inflammatory reactions. Such direct comparison permits early assessment of the clinical value of new methods. This approach can also be used to test new methods developed by third parties, to test biomarker candidates, or in the development of new medical devices.