COPD awareness frame poster with lungs filled with air bubbles on red background. Forest Medical Spirometer Calibration

COPD: Can we soon change the course of the disease?

Researchers are working on the development of a drug that could finally prevent the inevitable worsening of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. By identifying a mechanism associated with the exacerbation of this chronic inflammatory disease of the bronchi, the researchers have indeed discovered a therapeutic target that is directly exploitable. | Forest Medical Spirometer Calibration

The therapeutic track that could “revolutionise” the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (or COPD) has been developed by Professor Patrick Berger and his team at the Bordeaux University Hospital. Currently, this chronic bronchial illness cannot be cured. The available treatments are symptomatic, relieving only briefly the patients with a moderate effectiveness; including regular Spirometer calibration and testing, However, COPD is a prevalent disease whose primary risk factor is tobacco.

Study Results

COPD is characterised by inflammation of the bronchi and remodelling of the bronchi. It causes progressive obstruction of the airways and difficulty breathing. Of exacerbations, i.e. a sudden worsening of symptoms, occurring in 80% of patients and often leads to hospitalisation and an excess risk of death in the months and years following – this is the problem the researchers wanted to target.

In two other respiratory diseases, asthma and fibrosis In the lungs, there is an increase in the concentration of fibrocytes, bone marrow stem cells that pass into the blood and colonise the inflamed regions, contributing to the aggravation of these diseases. For the case of asthma, these cells differentiate into smooth muscle cells (myocytes) that increase the contractions of the bronchi. In case of pulmonary fibrosis, fibrocytes differentiate into fibroblasts (tissue support cells) and accentuate fibrosis. The researchers, therefore, wondered whether fibrocytes were also involved in exacerbations of COPD, contributing to their severity of the disease.

Targeting Atypical Fibrocytes

To be clear, they analysed the concentration of circulating fibrocytes in the blood of 65 patients affected by a bronchial exacerbation and monitored their respiratory capacity for at least two months. They did the same in individuals with stable COPD without aggravation, as well as in non-COPD subjects. Thus they found a massive increase in fibrocyte concentration during exacerbations associated with COPD. In fact, “the higher the concentration of fibrocytes, the poorer the prognosis of the patient, even constituting a mortality index at three years. Besides, the higher the fibrocyte concentration remains high in the two months following the episode, the more the breath is altered”, summarises Professor Berger.

Looking more closely at these fibrocytes, the researchers found that they carried two receptors specific to specific chemokines, substances produced by the body capable of attracting cells into the blood. “These fibrocytes seem to be hypersensitive to two chemokines that would cause their migration into the bronchi at the time of exacerbation,” says the lead researcher. The mechanisms of this migration are under study. The scientists also try to find out whether, once they reach the bronchi, these cells differentiate into myofibroblasts to help remodel the bronchi and worsen the disease.

A Drug On Trial

Until these points are clarified, the association between the fibrocyte migration in the blood of patients with COPD and the prognosis of their disease is clear enough to try to stop this phenomenon. The authors tested a drug already on the market as part of a haematological indication. It works by blocking one of the chemokine receptors identified on the surface of fibrocytes. The results obtained in vitro are promising and led researchers to file a patent to protect this work. The first clinical trials could soon start. “Blocking this migration could indeed, for the first time, change the history of the disease, ” concludes the researcher.

Forest Medical Spirometer Calibration

Spirometry is a breathing or ‘lung function’ test. It’s one of the most common tests people with asthma, or people who are being tested for asthma, are given. Your GP or asthma nurse will ask you to take a deep breath and then breathe out as fast as you can and for as long as you can through a mouthpiece linked to a ‘Spirometer’. You will have to blow a few times so your GP or asthma nurse can get an accurate result.

As with all medical equipment, Spirometers need thorough and comprehensive testing on a regular basis. Failure to adequately test a Spirometer puts it at risk of failure or of false readings being displayed from the equipment, which can have disastrous results.

We undertake thorough Spirometer Calibration to fully test your machines and ensure that they are safe and suitable for use.


    1. Dupin et al. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, online edition of October 23, 2015

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