Public and private partnerships and stronger investments in research could help patients living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Experts representing the COPD research continuum discussed the latest developments in research and the prevention and treatment of the disease at a congressional briefing hosted by Research!America titled “From Discovery to Delivery: Research at Work – COPD” on November 15, 2017. Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP, president and CEO, AcademyHealth, moderated the panel.
Nearly 16 million Americans live with COPD, an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., claiming the lives of 150,000 each year said Grace Anne Dorney Koppel, JD, M.A., president, Dorney-Koppel Foundation. Koppel, a COPD patient and advocate, pleaded for increased federal fundingfor research to expand treatment options for patients. She noted that current treatments do not stop the progression of the disease. “Not being able to breathe, the most essential quality of life, is terrifying,” she said. David Mannino, M.D., FCCP, FERS, U.S. respiratory medical expert, added that some advances have been made in COPD research “but we still have a long way to go.”
Gary Gibbons, M.D., director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), discussed the COPD National Action Plan that was released by the Institute earlier this year. The plan provides a comprehensive framework for patients and disease stakeholders who are committed to reducing the burden of the disease. “We’re all in this together and we’re on the same team,” he added.
Public and private sector investments have been critical to advancing COPD research, said Jerry Krishnan, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for population health sciences, professor of medicine and public health, University of Illinois at Chicago. He also underscored the value of comparative effectiveness research to ensure patients receive the best treatment available. “[CER] gives us the tools and knowledge so we are not guessing…what each individual patient needs.”