New treatments for COPD

COPD LungsA plea from a Sciencebase reader asking for more information on new treatments for COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, led me to do a search to find the specific novel therapy the reader mentioned. Apparently, there was a news item on US TV that referred to research in Mexico.

Well, my search turned up several new treatments for COPD. Medical News Today reported in January how combining a long-acting bronchodilator with an inhaled corticosteroid could reduce the number of exacerbations by 35%, but this was work carried out Germany, with no Mexican connection as far as I could tell. Then there were the more recent revelation that helium, the noble gas of squeaky voice fame, combined with 40% oxygen could increase the exercise capacity of patients with COPD by an average of 245%. Again, no Mexican connection, this time the research was Canadian.

A UK and Canadian collaboration has identified an inflammatory mechanism that could explain some of the most extreme symptoms and point to new treatments. Indeed, Imperial College’s Peter Barnes had shown previously that low doses of theophylline, a substance occurring in tea leaves can help relax the bronchial tubes in the lungs and render them more amenable to corticosteroid intervention than they would otherwise be.

It might be that one in ten of COPD flare-ups could be prevented by treating patients with antibiotics to rid them of the bacterium thought to cause these problems in a sub-group of patients.

COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the US and in January this year the National Institutes of Health put up $13 million to the University of Pittsburgh to help researchers there understand better the disease and potentially find more effective treatments. COPD, some times known as chronic obstructive airways disease (COAD) is most commonly associated with smoking tobacco (you’ve got a hugely increased risk of this disease if you have smoked an average of 20 cigarettes a day for 20 years or more across your lifetime) but the disease can also arise because of coal dust and other pollutants. I say disease, but it’s actually a combination of diseases chronic bronchitis (which is inflammatory, in nature, narrows airways and increases mucus production) and emphysema (destruction of lung tissue).

Still no Mexico connection, not even with a search on NCBI PubMed… Then I received another email from the Sciencebase correspondent who revised the original note to include the word “new” it was New Mexico…not old Mexico. I should have thought of that first off, but I didn’t. However, a quick search with new included brought up the item that I suspect our correspondent had heard about.

Apparently, the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute is collaborating with Dr Richard Crowell of the Albuquerque Veterans Administration Medical Center to begin a new study over the next three years that will enlist more than 3000 Albuquerque area residents at risk of COPD and lung cancer. Now, this isn’t quite the treatment breakthrough mentioned in the original email, but this looks like another promising lead in dealing with COPD.

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21 thoughts on “New treatments for COPD”

  1. I am a fifty seven year old with severe COPD. I am on inhalers and oxygen for almost 20 hours a day. In last three years I have become vary week, unable to do any physical work or walk even fifty steps. I know that there is not much the Doctors can do in cases like me but I shall be thankful to you if you can suggest some thing which can help in reducing the chest stiffness.

  2. I Am A seventy yr. old with severe COPD. I have been A recipient for A double lung transplant
    for 5yrs.now. All of my other organs are ok. At this age I dont want the rejection meds. I would be on with A transplant.I would like to hear more about (easy breath wellness inhaler for
    diaphragm ex.), or any advice from anyone. thanks, L.E.Wilks Sr.

  3. @fred It sounds like a scam. As far as I know, stem cell from an animal will not be a match for human recipient in terms of biochemistry or genetics, it would simply be seen as an alien entity by the immune system, attacked and destroyed.

  4. I have heard of a Mexico treatment for COPD. There is a stem cell shot that patients receive (around $1,000).
    The power of stem cells today is unclear, but we know they have a LOT of potential.
    The problem with the stem cell shots given in Mexico is that they are usually sheep or horse stem cells. The research on whether or not animal stem cells is as effective is unclear. I have yet to find a relevant article or talk to someone firsthand who has received a shot. The problem is, even though some claim it is effective, it may be a placebo effect.

  5. dear david,
    at long last i have found somerone who might be able to help me, firstly i am a 66 year old male with advanced copd whom i might add is extreamly fit albeit me pft is serious so much so much so i was accepted onto a transplant programme for a double lung transplant at 64 however my health is still very good and since my age is now the promblem i have removed my name from the programme as e graduate in medical research i am very keen to participate in any forms of clinical trials invasive or otherwise as a last chance to improve my quality of life to date i have the easy breath wellness inhaler for diaphragm exercise it is very effective. so if you know of any drug trials or procedures recruiting at present please can you let me know

    regards martin

  6. David I think I may have found what I’v been looking for , for so long. There is a new drug spelled
    Ariflo (cilomilast) . GlaxoSmithKline has filed for drug approval with the
    FDA. Do you know of any way we or I might be able to get more information on the progress and approval from FDA? Thank You for your help and time.

  7. I presume you meant to ask why they’re “not” allowed to continue. It’s part of the ethical standards established to safeguard patients. A trial is a trial not a prescription service. There are additional regulatory hurdles before a drug can be approved for general use.

  8. David have you heard of a new treatment being tested by Dutch doctors? It is called Roflumilast. I was wondering if you would know why , when someone is in a drug study and if the medicine helps them with no decernible side effects, they are allowed to continue to recieve the medicine?

  9. TY David but no we were only told it was called Airflow and it was in pill form. They tested us before we began the study and after we took the medicine for a week. It was a blind study but I knew the first week I was on the real med not a placebo because my breathing improved so much. All I can tell you is the study was done in Scared Heart Hospital in Penscola, Florida , I believe 2000 or2001. I will continue to look for it as I know the benifits are wonderful . Again thank you.

  10. A medication going by the name of “Airflow” is going to be very hard to find given that almost every discussion of COPD will discuss lung function and mention “air flow”. Any other clues? Perhaps you were given a more technical name for the drug or at least a description of the type of drug…

  11. I have copd. Nine years ago I was one of several people involved in a study for a possible new medication for copd ,called Airflow. It was in pill form, taken twice a day. I had no side effects from this medicine. My breathing improved almost 80%. The nurse told me it depending on how much longer the study lasted and the results, it may be out for use in4 or 5 years. I have gotten on the internet several times a year to check on any news of this medicine, ask my doctor and pharmacist and no one knows anything about it. At present I use Advair and spiriva. It does help but the medicine I was given in the blind study years ago was a 100% more effective. Any help you can give me regarding finding out about this medicine will be appericated.

  12. If you are feeling good with spiriva as l have keep on with it, dont believe all you read, trust your own feelings, we know we are never going to get better results with our lungs, but if you are feeling better keep it up !!

  13. i have copd ..just lately there have been reports regarding spiriva for copd. since taking spiriva i have had significant improvement . so now what do i do? is there a treatment to help this condition that is safe

  14. You are more likely to contract chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD) if you are poor and with a below average education, according to the latest research into the disease

  15. Joe’s comment that vitamin A and C might work in treating symptoms of COPD took me back to PubMed – a paper in the journal Respirology, suggests that increased oxidative stress exists in patients with acute exacerbation of COPD and that during such an episode the body increases antiocidant defences. However, “This rise in the antioxidant defence is not sufficient to prevent depletion of non-enzymatic antioxidants such as alpha-tocopherol.” Given that finding, I’d anticipate that vitamin E would be helpful too, but professional, qualified medical advice should always be sought before anyone takes advice from any website.

  16. COPD can be fixed with high doses of vitamin A and C.

    Also, hypnosis works to relax the chest to allow for easier breathing.

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