João Rufo - Breathomics in asthma diagnosis and monitoring
João Cavaleiro Rufo is an Integrated Postdoc Researcher at the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto and an expert in breathomics applied to clinical immunology.
Born in 1989, João obtained his Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Beira Interior, Portugal, in 2013. During the same year, he started working on the ARIA project in order to comprehend the exposure mechanisms behind allergic diseases and asthma development in children. The strict collaboration with the Laboratory of Indoor Air Quality, between 2013 and 2015, resulted in several published studies concerning environmental exposure in a public health perspective, as well as the coordination of the Indoor Air Quality Assessment and Public Health courses at the Institute of Public Health. During his PhD, awarded by the University of Porto in 2018, João managed to identify specific patterns of volatile organic compounds in patients with persistent asthma, which lead to the creation of the first laboratory in Portugal dedicated exclusively to breathomics.In 2019, he was elected as a board member of the Epidemiology Work Group of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, where he is working to implement breathomics as a novel screening method for asthma studies.
Asthma is a non-communicable chronic disease that is highly prevalent in developed countries. The diagnosis and phenotyping of asthma are particularly complex due to the lack of currently available sensitive diagnostic tools. This often results in inappropriate or untargeted inhaled steroid therapy prescription, which may consequently result in poor disease treatment and more frequent exacerbations. However, several studies have shown that exhaled breath analysis may become the solution to improve point-of-care diagnosis of asthma.
In this lecture, the most recent scientific advances concerning asthma diagnosis through exhaled breath analysis will be discussed, with special focus given to applications compatible with real clinical scenarios. Moreover, original research performed in an outpatient allergology clinic, using medical diagnosis of asthma as the reference test, will not only demonstrate that breathomics allow the distinction of paediatric individuals with a medical diagnosis of asthma, but also allow the identification of individuals in need of corticosteroid therapy.