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Outcomes from Recent Airways Clinical Research Center Studies Published in Scientific Journals

(October 19, 2018)

The American Lung Association's Airways Clinical Research Center (ACRC) is the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers dedicated to asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treatment research. "The goal of the ACRC is to conduct research that is directly applicable to the needs of patients and the providers who care for them," said Robert Wise, M.D., a founding member of the ACRC and director of the ACRC Data Coordinating Center at Johns Hopkins University. To meet this goal, the ACRC helps advance findings in the lab to the patients' bedside, meaning hope and better treatments for those living with a lung disease.

Step-down therapy for asthma

Published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society in August 2018, the study "Risk Factors for Asthma Exacerbation and Treatment Failures in Adults and Adolescents with Well-controlled Asthma During Continuation and Step-Down Therapy," found that people with reduced lung function, a history of asthma flare-ups (exacerbations) and early onset disease may require closer observation during guidance-based step-down therapy. Guidance-based step-down therapy suggests that asthma medicines should be reduced once patients can control their asthma. This study found the contrary. "Although there are well-established guidelines for stepping up treatment for asthma, much less is known about how to cut back on treatment once asthma is controlled." Dr. Wise explained, "the LASST study found that there was no single superior strategy to cutting back on treatments once asthma is well-controlled." The study found that even with well-controlled asthma, there is a substantial chance of a relapse within the course of a year, regardless of whether the treatment is stepped down or not, concluding that even mild asthma is a disorder that requires regular supervision.

Watch this video to learn more about the study.

Depressive Symptoms in uncontrolled asthma

The Journal of Asthma published the ACRC study, "Factors Associated with Depressive Symptoms in Uncontrolled Asthmatics" in its May 2018 edition. "We understand asthma and COPD are disorders that are associated with other conditions that may affect either the lungs or the body's response to environmental exposures," Dr. Wise explained. As a result, this study worked to find the factors associated with symptoms of depression in a large group of patients with poorly controlled asthma. The study found that people with depressive symptoms are significantly less knowledgeable about their asthma and have a poorer quality of life compared to those without depressive symptoms. Ultimately, the authors recommend studying a larger, more diverse group of patients to evaluate the impact of depression on asthma control.

Sinonasal disease in asthma

The Journal of Asthma also published the study, "Effect of Obesity on Sinonasal Disease in Asthma" in their May 2018 edition. The purpose of the study was to determine if obesity is associated with increased severity of sinonasal disease—inflamed nasal passages and the sinuses nearest the nasal passage—in adults with asthma. The study assessed sinonasal disease severity among 236 adult asthmatics with different BMIs over 24 weeks. While the study found that obesity had no effect on the severity of sinonasal disease symptoms in asthmatics the researchers also recommended that more research is needed to further study the efficacy of nasal corticosteroids as an effective treatment in patients with high BMI.

With the ability to conduct large scale clinical trials, the work of the ACRC is very important to the effective treatment of those living with asthma and COPD. There are number of clinical trials currently in progress and at various stages of completion across the country. If you have COPD or asthma, or care for someone who does, see what trials are available near you.

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