Catching their breath: Finding biomarkers in COPD

The ECLIPSE (Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints) study is a three-year study created to find biomarkers that could predict worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema, largely caused by smoking, and leads to progressively worsening shortness of breath.

As part of their COPD biomarker study, the ECLIPSE team screened the blood of 201 people with COPD for 34 putative biomarkers, with samples from 37 ex-smokers with normal lung function and 37 healthy non-smokers acting as controls.

The team found links with COPD for 15 biomarkers, with the strongest being fibrinogen. According to the researchers, this may be a potentially useful biomarker and requires further investigation.

Treatment for COPD is mostly about managing the symptoms, and while smoking levels remain high, particularly in the developing world, the need for management and treatment will continue to increase. The development of biomarkers will hopefully help to improve the diagnosis of patients and monitor the effectiveness of treatments, as well as advancing the design of clinical trials.

- read the abstract in Respiratory Research