A team from our Children's Hospital is leading the way with a research study that uses a small table-top device, similar in size to a small alarm clock, which monitors important symptoms and signs of asthma without patients needing to do or wear anything.
The Childhood Home Asthma Monitoring Project (CHAMP) uses the Albus Home RD, a small device which sits next to a patient’s bed and monitors breathing patterns and burdensome symptoms of asthma. This data is analysed using advanced computer algorithms, in order to spot patterns as well as provide clinicians with key information, to predict when a patient may have an asthma attack or when they become seriously unwell.
The study has been running since March 2022 and the team, Consultant Dr Prasad Nagakumar and research nurses Neelam Khan and Sarah Jordan, are recruiting patients with and without asthma to take part in the study.
Dr Nagakumar said: "This is an exciting study, which has such a huge potential to help patients with asthma, which is something that affects one in 11 people. We’re working hard to further understand and develop the use of this innovative monitoring and, importantly, prediction technology.
“Our aim is to build algorithms and clinical supporting tools for the early detection of worsening asthma in children by capturing warning signs before patients or those giving care perceive them.”
Awa Khan's two sons, Ismael and Jamal, have both been on the study since last October.
Seven-year-old Jamal was diagnosed with asthma just last year, while Ismael, 13, has severe allergies and asthma which involves daily medication and hospital visits every other week for injections.
Awa, from Birmingham, said: “We are happy to take part. This study will hopefully help doctors be able to predict before they have an attack and put technology or medicine in place, so they don’t have to be extremely sick. I can’t wait to see the outcome!
“I would champion this study to anyone, whatever helps scientific study that helps other people I’d advocate for anybody to do it. It is just a monitor that goes by the bed, so for what it’s worth, it could really help somebody.
“I know how much asthma can affect a family, we lost our nephew when he was eight through asthma, and we’ve had other family members die from it, and it is unbearable. If it helps just one person then it will be worth it.”
Ismael said: “It’s very good as it monitors my breathing whilst sleeping and in future will help determine if and when I am about to have an attack so the right measures can be put in place and taken.”
Jamal added: “Thank you to the team that looks after me and my brother.”
The study has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research and the team are working alongside Albus Health, a spinout company from Oxford University that developed the technology, and other partners including Asthma+Lung UK, Imperial College London, Oxford Academic Health Science Network and Royal Brompton Hospital, where patients are also being recruited to take part.