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National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre
Our Research: Respiratory

COPD

Did you know that COPD is the fifth leading cause of death in the UK and costs the NHS more than £1 billion per year?

We believe that being able to diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) earlier would significantly improve outcomes for patients. However, a lack of accurate indicators of COPD activity presents a considerable barrier to us being able to do this.

Our previous research has demonstrated that COPD progression differs between individuals. We are now working towards a more personalised approach to treating subtypes of COPD, which will bring huge benefits to patients and the NHS.

Our research is:

  • Providing a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms (changes in immunological homeostasis and macrophage function) behind COPD to inform the development of blood, sputum and breath tests (biomarkers) to diagnose COPD and its subtypes
  • Monitoring disease progression using advanced lung physiology techniques and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to identify biomarkers for predicting lung cancer risk in COPD patients (linked with our Cancer Prevention and Early Detection research)
  • Examining the accuracy of our ability to diagnose different subtypes of COPD (also known as stratification) using the biomarkers we develop
  • Matching individual patients to the anti-inflammatory treatment trial which is most likely to work for them (based on biomarkers/stratification) and monitoring their response