Imaging makes a major contribution to diagnosis and monitoring in respiratory medicine, so the constant improvement of imaging techniques has a significant impact on the specialty. Techniques such as real-time MRI, three-dimensional ultrasonographic computing and ‘visiology’ are deepening our understanding of a range of conditions.
Genomics, proteomics and metabolomics are among the biological monitoring tools that are increasing our knowledge of diseases from cystic fibrosis to cancer. Biomarkers such as exhaled volatile organic compounds offer potential improvements in disease monitoring, while pathogen genomes are providing new insight into infectious threats.
‘Biological’ drugs are increasingly important in respiratory medicine, using antibodies and antagonists to block or modify disease mechanisms, oncogenes and metabolic pathways in asthma, COPD, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, cancers and pulmonary hypertension.