COPD Foundation to Create One of the Largest COPD Patient Networks Ever Assembled

March 03, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C - March 3, 2015 The COPD Foundation announced today a groundbreaking initiative to accelerate research and stimulate innovation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a spectrum of inflammatory lung diseases that include chronic bronchitis and emphysema, with sponsorship from AstraZeneca.  Patients with COPD experience chronic respiratory symptoms such as difficulty breathing and coughing.

The COPD360 program will enroll 125,000 patients to databases on an integrated research registry composed of the COPD Patient-Powered Research Network and physician registries. Once fully realized in the next three to five years, COPD360 will combine patient-reported outcomes, clinical data, electronic medical records and observational research into one of the largest COPD research networks ever assembled. Patients entered into the registry have agreed to share their health information and testimonies on how COPD has impacted their lives.

By building this broad understanding of the disease, the Foundation hopes to uncover new opportunities for academic and industry researchers to identify new treatments that could lead to a cure.

COPD is the third leading cause of death in the US and affects more than 30 million Americans. It is now understood to be a complex disease with multiple comorbidities that can lead to frequent infections, hospital admissions and mortality. With a rising economic burden estimated at approximately $50 billion annually, there is a disproportionately low level of research funding allocated to this preventable progressive disease. 

“I would like to thank AstraZeneca for becoming a founding corporate sponsor of COPD360.  This substantial commitment will make an immediate impact on our ability to enroll patients and to build a community of active research participants,” said John W. Walsh, COPD Foundation President and Co-Founder.  “We all want to see faster progress towards therapeutic treatments and cures for COPD and this collaboration highlights how patients, nonprofits, researchers and pharmaceutical companies can work together to accomplish just that.”

Patients with COPD experience an inevitable decline in lung function and are at-risk for increasing disability and premature death over time. There is neither a cure for COPD nor an understanding of why many individuals exposed to known risk factors, like smoking, do not develop the disease. A significant proportion of patients who do develop COPD are also likely to experience comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and depression, which impacts their quality of life. COPD360 may provide a platform to better understand the possible links that could exist between these conditions through research.

“AstraZeneca is proud to be a founding sponsor of this pioneering effort,” said Greg Keenan, VP Medical Affairs and US Chief Medical Officer, AstraZeneca.  “This is an innovative undertaking that we truly believe will enable faster recruitment for clinical trials and spur COPD research at an unprecedented level.”

AstraZeneca provided $2.5 million to the COPD Foundation for the COPD360 initiative. The funding will be used to build out the patient research portal and data center and to deploy a comprehensive patient outreach and awareness program to support enrollment.