It is time to take a different view of COPD

Lung damage from COPD is the number three cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Yet COPD receives little attention and patients do not get the care they need. An emergency situation. Therefore, a group of international scientists set out to do something about the issues surrounding the disease. Also, our Accelerate researcher prof. dr. Melanie Königshoff co-authored.

COPD is a major health problem affecting people from all countries, socio-economic classes, and age groups. The disease has a huge impact on patient's lives as well as on those around them. The scientists' goal? To eliminate COPD from the world. They spent years working on the initiative and wrote a major article in The Lancet. That is one of the most renowned scientific journals in the world. 'This article is so important because we have to look at the disease in a fundamentally different way,' says Frits Franssen. He is a co-author of the article and professor of 'Personalised management of COPD' at Maastricht University. 'We want to start the discussion about a solution to the disease.

Various types of COPD

For a long time, all forms of COPD were conflated. The disease was only classified into different stages looking at lung capacity. We now know that there are different types of COPD. We also know that the disease is caused by various factors. These include hereditary predisposition, events at a young age, respiratory infections, and exposure to tobacco smoke or air pollution. Franssen: 'Only if we recognise this, we can look in a more specific manner for better ways to detect the disease earlier and for the most effective treatment per type of COPD. Stop smoking or prevent someone from starting smoking sounds the most logical, of course, but you can also think about the role of early inhalation therapy or the development of new classes of drugs. '

Ambitious goal

'This article is extremely important for how we view COPD worldwide,' says Frits Franssen. 'We want there to be more methods for diagnosing COPD worldwide in a few years. At the very least, there should be studies investigating the different types of COPD and new treatments per subgroup. A super ambitious goal! It is our express intention to continue this. And that there will be regular updates on what has been achieved. '


This important publication also references the work of the Lung Foundation Netherlands. For instance, it refers to the work Lung Foundation Netherlands has done in The Netherlands in recent years to replace the word 'exacerbation' with 'lung attack'. Lung Foundation Netherlands director Michael Rutgers and research coordinator Bas Holverda previously wrote an article on the subject.

In addition, the international programme LONGFONDS | Accelerate is cited as an example of important research in the field of lung tissue repair. Besides prof.dr. Frits Franssen American prof.dr. Melanie Königshoff also contributed to this publication. She is a researcher involved in the Lung Foundation Netherlands consortium on lung tissue repair. We are proud of this recognition and the international visibility of our work.