Breathing new life into treatment for patients with asthma and allergic rhinitis

POLLAR is a ground-breaking new exploration of the impact of pollution on these common respiratory conditions.  

Anyone who’s ever experienced a respiratory allergy, such as asthma or hay fever, will know these can be exceptionally uncomfortable conditions that can restrict a person’s quality of life. And in severe cases, some allergic conditions can be life-threatening.

The number of people impacted by these conditions is staggering – 100 million people in the EU are affected by allergic rhinitis (AR, the clinical term for hay fever). This has a huge impact on work productivity, such as time lost through absenteeism, which costs EU businesses between €30bn and €50bn every year. Meanwhile, rising air pollution and its potential to increase AR severity is a further cause for concern.

Project POLLAR aims to evaluate the links between AR, sleep and work and the negative impact of air quality. The study aims to help improve preventative and treatment strategies for patients across Europe.

Building breakthrough tracking software

POLLAR is creating innovative software that fuses patient data, air pollution levels and machine learning technology. The software will produce vital insights about how AR and asthma are aggravated by pollution and uncover its impact on work and productivity. In addition, new app capabilities will capture information about sleep for the first time.

The team’s research ultimately aims to improve how treatment is managed – both globally and on an individual basis.

The POLLAR project makes use of the mobile app Allergy Diary, which enables people with asthma and AR to record the impact of their condition on their daily lives. There are currently 17,000 people using the app across 23 countries, but POLLAR aims to reach 100,000 users to build a more detailed picture.

POLLAR also monitors the allergy season and fluctuating air pollution levels using a new tool derived from Google Trends to understand how these conditions can become aggravated by pollutants. Artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, provided by digital healthcare specialist Neogia, will digest the masses of data to generate accurate insights. These will be the basis for practical action to enhance patients’ lives and reduce absenteeism by informing interventions to reduce symptoms and improve sleep.

Connecting a powerhouse of healthcare experts

EIT Health awarded €2m to KYomed INNOV, which develops digital tools in healthcare, and connected it to EIT Health’s vast network of innovators to bring this complex and vital piece of work to life.

The project is being driven by world-leading specialist on respiratory diseases, Professor Jean Bousquet, and it’s led by Bull – an EIT Health partner and member of the Living Lab Santé Autonomie – which is hosting the technology platform.

Other partners include:

  • France’s Sorbonne Université (ex UPMC) provide pollution technology
  • Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA) will collect and analyse sleep data
  • IS Global for data analysis
  • Forum of Living Labs’ National Center of Expertise in Cognitive Stimulation (CEN STIMCO) will provide data analysis support
  • AQuAS, the Catalan Agency for Health Information, Assessment and Research, will support in pollution regulation

Landry Stéphane Zeng Eyindanga
| Project Manager | Bull SAS
Eve Dupas
| Head of Data Mining | KYomed INNOV