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Leicester Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit
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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?

COPD refers to a condition that has previously been described as chronic bronchitis (inflammation and narrowing of the airways) and emphysema (weakening of the structure of the lung).


COPD is a common, costly and preventable disease that has substantial implications for the health of people living in Europe. COPD is the only leading cause of death that is becoming more common worldwide.


COPD causes gradual restriction of airflow and consequent difficulty in breathing. Because of this, shortness of breath, cough and sputum production are common symptoms in COPD. Although these symptoms can be dealt with, the weakening of the lungs caused by COPD is not fully reversible.


What problems are currently faced by people with asthma and COPD?

Current methods to treat these diseases do not always take into account the characteristics which make a person unique. New treatments are frequently being introduced, which makes it even harder for doctors to select the best treatment to meet an individual’s need.


What COPD Research is taking place at the Leicester Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit (BRU)?

Professor Chris Brightling is project lead for AirPROM, which is a Europe wide project which aims to help doctors choose which therapies will be most effective for each individual.

To watch an interview with Prof Brightling, please visit the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diSnIO34IHM


By developing digital models of the lungs, the project will help scientists look at how air flows through the airways in people with COPD and asthma. They will be able to use these models to test new treatments to see how the airways of different people respond to each treatment.


The overall aim of the project is to develop more personalised treatments to help improve quality of life for people with COPD and asthma.