Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD -- an umbrella term for conditions including emphysema, chronic bronchitis and some forms of asthma -- afflicts more than 50 million people worldwide. Chief symptoms are persistent blockage of airflow from the lungs and difficulty breathing. Tobacco smoke is the leading cause, with significant risk factors also posed by indoor air pollution from solid fuels used for cooking and workplace exposure to chemical fumes, dust, and other irritants.
COPD's worldwide prevalence is increasing; some research predicts a 30 percent increase in deaths over the next decade, with annual mortality exceeding 6 million people. Current therapies aim to ease breathing and relieve symptoms, but there is no cure. However, recent analysis by the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters has shown COPD-related research shifts, activity in the drug pipeline and patent filings that indicate a greater focus on a future of preventive therapies.
Thomson Reuters created "The Future of COPD," the infographic (below) that summarizes the latest pharmaceutical research, activity in the drug pipeline and patent filings around a new class of preventive treatments -- such as p38 kinase inhibitors -- currently under investigation for treating and preventing COPD.
For a snapshot of COPD research and its principal players over the last decade, Thomson Reuters turned to the Web of Science, the premier research platform for information in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. A search on COPD produced more than 26,000 pertinent papers. This sample afforded listings of the most-cited reports, along with the most prolific researchers and institutions. Visit ScienceWatch to learn more about the analysis.