Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

In 2012, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) killed over 29,000 people in the UK. We’re working to prevent or reduce the severity of key events in the disease called exacerbations through better understanding and targetting of the immune system.

Key investigator: Dr Tom Wilkinson

Key projects

We’ve established the Southampton COPD group, which now has over 30 affiliated members, has raised over £11 million in external funding since 2011 and has achieved national and international awards for its work.

In a strategic collaboration with GSK Vaccines we have established a long term programme to develop and test a variety of vaccines to reduce the impact of respiratory infection in COPD patients.

The landmark AERIS COPD cohort study involving over 3500 patient visits and daily patient record updates has been completed and will provide new insights into the mechanisms driving susceptibility to infection in COPD. We are now analysing these data to determine disease traits that put patients at risk of infections and to help develop novel respiratory vaccines to prevent them.

In 2014, we were awarded funding for implementation research as a theme within the Wessex NIHR CLARHC, in a five year programme that aims to deliver a step change in respiratory outcomes across Wessex.

A 2016 collaboration with Astra-Zeneca aims to investigate the key mechanisms which lead to the development of COPD. This programme offers the opportunity to identify new targets for therapy with an ambition to create a much needed entirely new class of disease modifying treatments.