Advances in the understanding and future therapy of COPD

Leonardo Fabbri, S. Rennard, A. Leff, B. O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an enormous public health problem, which currently causes about 5% of all deaths worldwide. The main feature of COPD is a progressive loss of lung function as a result of structural changes in the airways and lung parenchyma. It is predominantly a disease of smokers, although only about 15% of smokers are thought to develop severe enough disease to be symptomatic. The reasons why some smokers are more susceptible to the disease than others are not clear, and are the subject of extensive research. Characteristically, inflammation is central to the pathophysiology of COPD, and it is clear that the inflammation of COPD differs from that seen in asthma. The most important treatment for COPD is smoking cessation, as other current treatments do not alter the course of the disease. Recent research into the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has provided potential new avenues for the development of rationally designed drugs, which may improve the outlook for patients with this debilitating condition. It is likely that different therapeutic approaches will be needed in different patients, because of the heterogeneity of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2002


  • Airway resistance
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Inflammation
  • Obstructive lung diseases
  • Pulmonary emphysema
  • Respiratory mechanics
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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