Researchers are defining subgroups of COPD patients that may be more amenable to treatment.

COPD patients have a baffling mixture of symptoms. Some suffer rapid loss of lung function, while others remain relatively stable. Some have more emphysema, while others suffer more chronic bronchitis. It is not surprising that it has been so difficult to find an effective medication for all COPD patients. National Jewish Health Professor of Medicine James Crapo, MD, and his colleagues around the nation in the COPDGene study have identified subgroups of COPD patients based on patterns of inflammation and tissue destruction, changes in CT scans over time, exacerbations and genes. Dr. Crapo has been contacted by pharmaceutical companies interested in treating some subgroups with medications targeted at their individual characteristics.