COPD360Net Seeks to Boost Innovative Digital Health, Therapeutics

Teresa Carvalho, MS avatar

by Teresa Carvalho, MS |

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The COPD Foundation has launched the COPD360Net project to facilitate, assess, and accelerate clinical trials to further the development and approval of novel digital health tools and treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The project is being launched before November, which is COPD Awareness Month, with the ultimate goal of preventing disease progression and improving the lives of people with COPD and related chronic lung diseases.

According to the foundation, almost a decade has passed since the last time a new therapeutic for COPD was approved.

“The problem that we face is that the development of new treatments for COPD has taken many years and the last new mechanism of action approved in Europe and the US for COPD was roflumilast in 2010/11,” Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD, the foundation’s president and chief scientific officer, said in a press release.

“We believe that many drug failures were the result of testing of promising molecules in the wrong COPD populations with inappropriate outcome measures. Thus, we think that there are several, if not many, promising molecules available with proven mechanisms of action and initial safety testing that have been shelved due to the high financial risk associated with development,” she added.

The COPD Foundation has therefore “decided to develop a program to test some of these molecules in efficient phase 2 studies using targeted COPD subpopulations and focused outcome measures that extend beyond lung function,” Tal-Singer said.

COPD360Net is a network of core foundation-accredited care centers, as well as experts in COPD and related lung diseases, primary care, health economy, and psychology. The network will take a patient-centered approach to accelerate clinical research and expand the therapeutic options for COPD.

A steering committee of clinical experts, patients, and caregivers will lead the initiative.

“The COPD360Net will serve as a powerful tool to identify novel pharmacological and technological innovations to advance COPD care,” said Brad Drummond, MD, associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and COPD360Net executive committee co-chair.

The initiative will take into account the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Adapting our strategy to the post COVID-19 ‘digital trials’ era and based on surveys and patient input, we would also like to address an immediate need for improved care delivery using telehealth tools, in particular peer-supported virtual pulmonary rehabilitation,” Tal-Singer said.

As a patient- and family-centered initiative, COPD360Net will promote the active cooperation and shared decision-making between patients, families, and healthcare providers. Furthermore, “in line with our mission, we are also forming a patient and caregiver advisory board for COPD360 called the COPD360 Community Engagement Committee,” Tal-Singer added.

This committee was created to listen to patient and caregiver opinions about the foundation’s initiatives, and to promote interactions between them and healthcare and advocacy groups.

“COPD360Net has the potential of being one of the most important projects the Foundation has ever launched,” said Jean Rommes, PhD, patient advocate on COPD360Net’s executive committee.

“It combines three of its founder John Walsh’s passions: research, innovation and people with COPD,” she said, referring to the late co-founder of the foundation, John Walsh.

“The work the COPD360Net can do will help us reach a cure someday,” she added.