Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

We have established a strong platform for drug development in COPD in partnership with industry; lung cells from specific subgroups of patients are used to develop novel biomarkers, and perform in vitro pharmacological investigations of novel anti-inflammatory strategies (target identification and validation). We have industrial collaborations (GSK, AstraZeneca, Novartis, Almirall, Pulmagen, Trident, Chiesi, Merck) to progress the development of their anti-inflammatory drugs through pre-clinical pharmacology studies.

Our goal

Our goal for the next five years is to establish cohorts of well-phenotyped patients (funded by EU, MRC and industry) that are enrolled into phase 1 and 2a clinical trials (e.g. 18 early-phase COPD studies of novel drugs have been completed in the last five years). Through the MRC/ABPI COPD consortium, we are establishing cohorts of COPD exacerbators, to investigate mechanisms and biomarkers of exacerbations, and identify novel targets and treatments.

We will:

  • validate and implement our novel assessment tools (e.g. quantitative microbiology, muscle strength, exhaled VOCs, Manchester COPD Fatigue Scale).
  • collaborate with pharmaceutical companies such as GSK to identify exacerbation biomarkers using gene array and proteomic techniques, with validation using more specific methods. This will stratify subgroups of patients for further basic science studies of mechanisms, and for targeted clinical trials.

Our basic pharmacology studies in collaboration with industry will identify novel mechanisms involved in exacerbations in subgroups of patients. We will investigate novel targets including p38 MAP kinase, PI3 kinase, Nrf2, IKK2 and a variety of novel lymphocyte signalling targets, with pharmaceutical collaborations, and have unique access to a range of new drugs.