Biological investigation of explanted endobronchial lung devices

Biological Investigation Of Explanted Endobronchial Lung devices (BIO-EXEL) cohort and in vitro studies

The main objective of this study is to understand the biological principles of the ‘regular’ device to airway tissue interaction, and the underlying granulation and fibrotic tissue responses, in COPD patients’ lungs, at the sites where medical devices are implanted to help them breath.

In collaboration with the US-based company PulmonX Corporation, they will perform a prospective open label clinical observation study. The partners will collect clinical data and biological samples from severe COPD patients receiving treatment with endobronchial valves (EBV).

In order to study the device-airway tissue interaction at the biological, biomechanical, and biochemical level that lead to the formation of granulation and fibrotic tissue around lung implantable devices, they will investigate the interaction between lung tissue and materials used for fabricating the endobronchial valves using state-of-the-art in vitro and ex vivo models.

The understanding of these mechanisms may help to improve the treatment effectiveness of implantable devices in COPD patients, as well as lead to improvements of current treatments or the discovery of complementary treatments for COPD patients.

Using their multidisciplinary consortium, consisting of basic biological scientists, clinicians and biomedical engineers they will be able to address our research questions from multiple angles. This consortium is unique because it combines the expertise and availability of various patient materials with basic scientific knowledge and the accessibility of several in vitro culturing techniques.

Furthermore, the collaboration with a private partner which produces implants currently used for the treatment of severe COPD patients, ensures the rapid translation from basic science to the clinic.

With this project the aim is to fulfill the following milestones:

  1. Development of an in vitro model to study the effect of implanted materials on lung cells.
  2. Clinical, genetic and biological characterisation of COPD patients treated with EBVs; and
  3. Identification of clinical, genetic and biological differences between COPD patients needing re-bronchoscopy after EBV treatment and COPD patients not needing a re-bronchoscopy after EBV treatment.
The main objective of this study is to understand the cellular interactions at or around the implanted device (endobronchial valves: EBV) that lead to the fibrotic response and the formation of granulation tissue. This should aid in developing strategies to minimise this response in the lungs of COPD patients treated with endobronchial valves.
Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
2 - 4
Time period
36 months