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Clinical Trials

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is strongly committed to supporting research aimed at preventing and treating heart, lung, and blood diseases and conditions and sleep disorders.

NHLBI-supported research has led to many advances in medical knowledge and care. For example, this research has uncovered some of the causes of chronic lung diseases, as well as ways to prevent and treat these diseases.

Many more questions remain about chronic lung diseases, including COPD. The NHLBI continues to support research aimed at learning more about these diseases. Some of these studies explore, for example:

  • How certain medicines and other therapies can help treat COPD and improve quality of life for people who have the disease
  • Whether genetic factors increase the risk of lung damage that can lead to COPD
  • Whether a self-managed physical activity program is cost effective and can help people who have COPD function better
  • How a coping skills training program can improve quality of life for people who have COPD and their caregivers
  • Whether the physical properties of mucus play a role in the worsening of COPD, especially chronic bronchitis
  • How bacteria and toxins found in the lungs, mouth, and digestive system contribute to COPD and other lung diseases

Much of this research depends on the willingness of volunteers to take part in clinical trials. Clinical trials test ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat various diseases and conditions.

For example, new treatments for a disease or condition (such as medicines, medical devices, surgeries, or procedures) are tested in volunteers who have the illness. Testing shows whether a treatment is safe and effective in humans before it is made available for widespread use.

By taking part in a clinical trial, you may gain access to treatments before they are widely available. You also will have the support of a team of health care providers, who will likely monitor your health closely. Even if you do not directly benefit from the results of a clinical trial, the information gathered can help others and add to scientific knowledge.

If you volunteer for a clinical trial, the research will be explained to you in detail. You will learn about treatments and tests you may receive, and the benefits and risks they may pose. You will also be given a chance to ask questions about the research. This process is called informed consent.

If you agree to take part in the trial, you will be asked to sign an informed consent form. This form is not a contract. You have the right to withdraw from a study at any time, for any reason. Also, you have the right to learn about new risks or findings that emerge during the trial.

For more information about clinical trials related to COPD, talk with your doctor. You also can visit the following Web sites to learn more about clinical research and to search for clinical trials:


COPD Clinical Trials

Learn more about other COPD trials and how to participate in a clinical trial.

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Updated: April 28, 2017