“Given the high costs, both direct and indirect, associated with COPD, there is an urgent need to identify novel approaches to treat the disease,” said Avrum Spira, MD, MSc, professor of medicine at Boston University Medical Center. 
The COPD Epidemic
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term that includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis, and asthma . But it most commonly describes two often overlapping and life threatening lung diseases: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD is a progressively worsening debilitating lung disease that adversely affects breathing by obstructing airflow and causing lung tissue damage.
COPD is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death worldwide. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) estimate that an additional 12 million people have COPD but haven’t been diagnosed.