American Lung Association Airways Clinical Research Centers Network Expands to Include COPD

November is COPD Awareness Month, bringing attention to the fact that over 11 million Americans have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and another 24 million may have the disease without even knowing it. To advance research and patient options for this increasingly common disease, this year the American Lung Association expanded its program, Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) to include COPD treatment research.

The American Lung Association Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) Network, formerly known as the Asthma Clinical Research Centers, is the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers dedicated to asthma and COPD treatment research. Consisting of 17 clinical research centers across the county and a data coordinating center managed by a team at Johns Hopkins University, the ACRC Network conducts large clinical trials that directly impact patient care for those living with COPD and asthma.

"Since its inception in 1999, the ACRC has made many important contributions to the lives with people with asthma, impacting positively on their lives each and every day," said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "Our work is changing the nature of asthma patient care across the United States, and we now seek to do the same for COPD patients."

The third leading cause of death in the United States, COPD includes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and is a chronic lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. While the disease is increasingly common, the good news is COPD is preventable and treatable.

"We urgently need better treatment options. At this time there is no cure for COPD, and the number of people dying from COPD is growing," said Wimmer. "The ACRC network attracts some of the best investigators worldwide, and is key to advancing research to improve the quality of life for COPD and asthma patients," Wimmer said.

Through the ACRC Network, trials around the country are currently in progress and at various stages of completion. The outcomes of these studies will help shape the nature of care for people with asthma and COPD.

U.S. News & World Report annually ranks the best children's hospitals in the nation, and has recently added to the criteria for ranking—conducted by RTI International—whether a hospital's pediatric pulmonology program has membership in the Lung Association's ACRC Network.

"While the ACRC Network's research findings speak for themselves, adding ACRC participation to the criteria for ranking the Best Children's Hospitals is just another great example of the impact the network has on the quality of life for patients living with asthma and COPD," Wimmer said.

For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, research efforts and outcomes of the ACRC Network, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.

For more information, contact:

Allison MacMunn
[email protected]

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