Advances in respiratory medicine: discussions at the British Thoracic Society Winter meeting and COPD 2012

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Respiratory medicine is a main area of acute general medicine and for research funding agencies, which invest in large clinical trials and ground-breaking research into the pathogenesis and treatment of debilitating lung diseases. To keep up with the latest developments in the area, BMC Medicine recently attended the 3rd national conference on COPD (Nov 8th and 9th) and the BTS or British Thoracic Society winter meeting (Dec 5th to 7th).

As expected, both meetings covered common respiratory diseases; however, there was also a focus on personalized therapy and rare lung diseases in children. Outcomes from a number of randomized clinical trials in COPD were additionally reported and included the SPACE trial, pooled analysis of GLOW 1 and GLOW 2 trials and telemonitoring.

istock folderAt the BTS meeting, Francis Drobniewski discussed the advances in molecular and diagnostic testing for tuberculosis, and Helen McShane presented an excellent keynote lecture on the pathway to the development of tuberculosis vaccines with a focus on the on-going large infant Phase IIb efficacy and Phase IIB HIV trials. Furthermore, Jack Elias from Yale School of Medicine delivered a stimulating plenary lecture on chitinase-like proteins in asthma, lung injury and repair.

Updates of the NICE quality standards for COPD and the Department of health outcomes strategy for COPD were presented at COPD 2012. These were received well with challenges and implementation discussed at the questions time. On the topic of new  therapies, insights into diagnostic MRI for COPD were highlighted by Geoffrey Parker, which was followed by an outstanding talk on biomarkers and pathophysiology of COPD by Robert Stockley. Finally, Wisia Wedzicha provided an exquisite comprehensive overview on prevention of exacerbation in COPD based on clinical trial evidence.

The promising results expected from the clinical trials in progress, emerging therapies in COPD and new diagnostic techniques reveal exciting advance in the important field of respiratory medicine.