Lung diseases, such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and asthma, are a leading cause of death. Cases of these diseases are increasing and there are no treatments that can cure them completely. We need to learn more about how these diseases happen and how treatments work so we can prevent and treat them more effectively.

Our bodies are made up of cells, which are like tiny building blocks in all living things. Some living things are very complex and have trillions of different cells. Our lungs are complicated and are made up of lots of different cells. These cells have different roles and react differently to different stimuli. Because of this complexity, it has been difficult to develop new therapies for lung conditions.

To be better able to create new therapies, we need to understand: what types of cells are in the lung, what roles they have and how they communicate with each other. We also need to understand the differences between healthy lungs and lungs with a disease. To achieve this, discovAIR will create an Atlas of the Human Lung. The Human Lung Cell Atlas will be a 3D reconstruction of the lungs and contain detailed information about the cells.

DiscovAIR will use tissue from people with lung disease and healthy individuals. This tissue will help to identify specific properties of different types of cells. We will also learn how these properties change from a healthy to a diseased state. We will create a map of these different cell types. DiscovAIR will use new computer methods to combine all this information and create the first draft of the human lung cell atlas.

We will share the results using a free-to-access, online platform. Scientists, clinical experts, diagnostic and pharmaceutical industries will have access to this platform. The information will enable progress in medicine. And identify new candidates for precision diagnostics and treatments in lung disease. This will contribute to healthy ageing and active living in Europe.


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This project is funded by  
Grant no. 874656
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