Here you can read summaries of scientific articles relating to the NOVELTY study, re-written for the general public.
Information about asthma/COPD research. Full article available here.
Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are long-term conditions that affect the lungs. You can read more about asthma and COPD here.
Many people with severe asthma or severe COPD are not able to take part in most research studies testing the effectiveness of potential treatments (known as clinical trials). This is because clinical trials usually aim to study a particular group of people with the most ‘typical’ or characteristic features of the disease. For example, people who have features of both asthma and COPD are often excluded from clinical trials. Having features of both asthma and COPD is especially common in people with severe asthma and severe COPD. However, not including people like this in clinical trials means that less is known about how to treat them. This is important because the results of clinical trials help to create guidelines for doctors to use when deciding on treatments for their patients.
People with asthma and people with COPD can experience similar symptoms. For example, although wheezing is generally seen in asthma and phlegm is more common in COPD, shortness of breath and coughing occur in both conditions. Likewise, people who find that inhaled medications help to open their airways are typically diagnosed with asthma, even though some people with COPD find these helpful too. These similarities might be due to similar types of damage inside the airways.
Doctors decide how to treat people by their symptoms and their response to medications, rather than by the damage inside their airways. A new approach to grouping patients based on the changes inside their airways may encourage researchers to design studies differently. This means future clinical trials might be less specific about who they include, and people with a broader range of symptoms and disease features may be able to take part. This would allow people with more complex forms of the disease to be studied in more detail. Results from these studies might lead to updated treatment guidelines, which would help doctors to find the best treatments for individual patients.
A more personalised approach to treatment would mean that people could find a treatment that works for them more quickly and easily. The NOVELTY study is an important stepping stone to change the way researchers and doctors think about severe asthma and severe COPD.
NOVELTY study design. Full article available here.
Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; including emphysema and chronic bronchitis) are long-term conditions affecting the lungs. Asthma and COPD are often considered separate diseases, although they share some symptoms; some types of asthma have similar underlying causes to some types of COPD. Most research studies choose patients with either asthma or COPD, and exclude patients with both diagnoses (sometimes called asthma–COPD overlap). This means our current understanding of what causes these lung conditions, and how they relate to each other, is poor. NOVELTY is a study of around 12,000 patients with a diagnosis of asthma, COPD or both diagnoses, from 19 countries across North and South America, Europe and Asia. Most patients with any of these conditions are eligible for NOVELTY. The study aims to follow patients for 3 years, to better understand:
Asthma and COPD are amongst the most studied chronic diseases but progress in finding new, more effective treatments has been slow and disappointing. NOVELTY is a very large, global and innovative study that goes beyond the scope of similar, previous studies to change the way people think about these diseases. It is enhanced by the wide range of patients from diverse settings, and by the fact that many different types of information are being collected over time. NOVELTY will provide a unique source of data that can be used to understand the similarities and differences between patients with asthma, patients with COPD and patients with both conditions. The study aims to identify new underlying causes of these diseases to enable treatments that are driven by biology, rather than by the broad diagnoses currently used. A greater understanding may result in more personalised healthcare, with treatments that are better tailored to each patient based on their specific type of disease.