Respiratory infections, frequently caused by drug-resistant bacteria, are the main cause of disease and death in people with cystic fibrosis (CF) and bronchiectasis (BE). Thanks to inhaled antibiotics, patients now live longer than ever before and enjoy a better quality of life. However, infections are increasingly becoming resistant to the few drugs available, putting patients’ lives at risk. The European iABC consortium is advancing the development of two inhaled antibiotics for patients with CF and BE. It is also working to identify ways of improving clinical trials of treatments for these serious diseases.
Sensitive outcome measures are still lacking however. Chest computed tomography (CT) is the gold standard to detect bronchiectasis. We aim to develop and validate a new CT scoring method that can be used for clinical studies in which CT data is used as an outcome measure, and for the monitoring of disease in clinical follow up. We also will further develop the automated analysis methods for the airway:artery ratio, which could serve as an additional outcome measure.
We hope we can conclude that CT scans can be used as sensitive outcome measure with these CT scoring methods. If so, this will add power to trials and eventually enable fast and successful development of treatments for patients with bronchiectasis. Besides, we hope to implement these methods in the clinical follow up of these patients for precise monitoring of disease.