A new clinical trial being conducted in the United Kingdom is recruiting participants to study the early stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and identify people at risk of developing the disease.
This will be the first study to track changes in lung function over time before COPD develops, allowing for the identification of relevant risk factors that may contribute to the disease.
“This is the first ever COPD study to investigate younger adult smokers, and will help us understand the origins of the disease,” Wisia Wedzicha, MD, a professor of respiratory medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute and lead trial researcher, said in a press release.
Enrollment is aimed at approximately 1,000 participants, between 30 and 45 years old, who are current smokers and do not have a diagnosed lung disease, referred to as the “BLF Early COPD Cohort.”
For a period of three years, the team will track the lung health of the volunteers and identify those whose lungs begin to decline and who are at risk of COPD. This strategy is expected to provide new insight into how COPD progresses and hopefully reveal clues on how to prevent its advance.
Researchers will collect blood and sputum samples from all participants to evaluate biochemical and molecular changes over time, including inflammation and infection markers, among others.
“By studying people aged 30-45 from across the nation, and tracking their lung health over time, we will also be able to glean insights into why some individuals are more prone to the condition. This knowledge may even reveal new drug targets, enabling us to develop new treatments that slow COPD, or even stop it in its tracks,” Wedzicha said.
During the study, participants will have the opportunity to undergo a computed tomography (CT) scan free of charge, will have access to smoking cessation support, and can get follow-ups with the national health system if issues are found.
Those interested in taking part in the study can send an email to [email protected].
The information retrieved from this nationwide study will hopefully benefit people all over the world who have COPD.
“There remains an urgent need to provide people with better treatments, but this is dependent on us gaining a better understanding of how the condition develops and progresses,” said Ian Jarrold, head of research at the British Lung Foundation.