HCR.20.061 – Healthy lungs for life (HALO): Improve respiratory health by preventive strategies during early infancy

Route: Health care research, sickness prevention and treatment

Cluster question: 089 How can we improve our understanding and treatment of pulmonary diseases?

One million patients in the Netherlands suffer from chronic lung diseases: asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are most common. These diseases cannot be cured and have a major impact on quality of life. Early life exposures predispose to future lung disease, therefore a good start is extremely important for healthy lungs later. Personalized prevention of lung diseases – early in life – can reduce disease- and economic burden and create healthy lungs for life. Lung development, function, and immunity are negatively affected by pre- and postnatal tobacco smoke exposure, urban lifestyle, and viral respiratory infections. Single interventions have been unsuccessful because lung disease is caused by many factors. A Finnish program – applying combined strategies – shows that we should focus on multi-target approaches in early life to prevent lung diseases later. HALO will expand this program to the next level. The HALO consortium is a unique Dutch effort initiated by the Netherlands Respiratory Society promoting healthy lungs by early postnatal interventions. Newborn babies will receive nutritional supplements and/or interventions targeting childhood respiratory infections. These interventions should affect lung growth, microbiome composition, metabolic profile, immune maturation and protection against respiratory pathogens. By combining innovative omics-technologies (transcriptomics, epigenomics, mass-cytometry, microbiomics, metabolomics, breathomics), we aim to identify biomarkers for personalized prevention strategies. In HALO, collaboration between public and private partners is key to success. Longfonds and Netherlands-Respiratory-Society (NRS) guarantee participation of patients, scientists and health-care takers in study set-up and dissemination of results. Private partners will ensure marketing and accessibility of results to society. By combining national and multidisciplinary forces, HALO has the ambition to develop a National program for personalized prevention and achieve healthy lungs for life.


asthma, children, immune maturation, Lungs, Metabolomics, respiratory viruses, wheeze

Other organisations

Netherlands Respiratory Society


Organisation LUMC
Name Dr. H.H. (Hermelijn) Smits
E-mail h.h.smits@lumc.nl