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Experts advocate focusing the future of COPD towards precision medicine


Experts in the approach to Chronic Obstructive Disease (COPD), gathered in the latest edition of the Annual Review of Congresses (ARC) on COPD, affirm that the future of the disease must be directed towards precision medicine.

For this reason, they advocate identifying new biomarkers and tools that allow predicting the trajectory of the disease, with the aim of designing personalized follow-up and treatment plans.

Thus, in the event, organized by Faes Farma and developed by Luzán 5 Health Consulting, the most important novelties presented at the international and national congresses held this year have been reviewed, which has allowed them to “know where the diagnosis and treatment of COPD in the coming years “, as explained by the head of the Pneumology Service of the Pontevedra Hospital Complex and coordinator of the meeting, Adolfo Baloira.

Advances in the management of COPD have improved the quality of life and survival of those affected, but it is still the fourth leading cause of death in developed countries and there is concern that the incidence is on the rise.

The main problem clinicians face in changing this situation is that up to 60 percent of critically ill patients are poorly controlled. Therefore, according to experts, the key to improving the prognosis of patients is through personalized or precision medicine.

For this reason, during the meeting, studies related to the potential use of various biomarkers were reviewed, such as low eosinophil count in peripheral blood, which has been associated with a poor response to inhaled corticosteroids, or the use of imaging techniques such as computerized tomography (CT), which could be used to detect COPD early.

This early diagnosis is also vital for the management of the disease. In this sense, Dr. Borja García-Cosío, from the Son Espases University Hospital in Palma de Mallorca, spoke to the attendees about the novel concept of ‘pre-COPD’, which “could indicate where to look and how, helping the early detection “, since it considers the symptoms, structural abnormalities or functional alterations that predispose people to suffer from this respiratory disease.

Regarding treatment, Dr. Baloira has underlined the importance of recent studies that indicate that “triple therapy supposes an improvement in general in patients with previous exacerbating COPD”, both in terms of symptom control and reduction in mortality.

The problem is that it is estimated that more than 50 percent of those affected are non-compliant. On this point, Dr. Myriam Calle, a pulmonologist at the San Carlos Clinical Hospital in Madrid, stressed that, in addition, “in many cases the lack of adherence occurs involuntarily”.

For this reason, he has insisted on the need to carry out “much more personalized approaches and verify compliance with treatment and the appropriate inhaler technique”, since “not all devices are the same”.

Likewise, during this ARC in COPD, a review was made of the novelties of the ‘GesEPOC 2021’ guide and the usefulness and use of spirometry in Spain has been debated. In the closing conference, Dr. Arturo Huerta (Sagrada Familia Clinic in Barcelona) reviewed the role of new technologies and techniques such as ‘machine learning’ in improving disease management.


In this edition of the ARC on COPD, vaccines against Covid-19 have also been discussed. Specifically, Dr. Luis Enjuanes, from the National Center for Biotechnology of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CNB-CSIC) has advanced that, at the beginning of 2022, they will be able to begin trials in primates with the Spanish vaccine and that, “if everything were ideally, it could be well advanced by the end of next year. “

The main advantage of this vaccine is that it “confers sterilizing immunity”, while the current ones do not prevent infection or transmission of the virus. However, the expert has stressed the importance of using the vaccines that are currently on the market since, although “this is a designed and worked vaccine, it arrives late, if it arrives.”

Regarding the impact of the pandemic on the care of patients with COPD, experts have warned that “the monitoring of respiratory patients is in a very poor situation because measurement and evolution tools such as spirometry have been lost.”

For this reason, they request that the summons be expedited, the necessary tests be retaken and awareness campaigns be carried out so that both society and health professionals themselves become aware of the impact that COPD has in our country.

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