Compiled by William for CrossDove Writers


This is a brief compilation of information posted by the British Lung Foundation regarding some possible breakthrough’s for patients battling COPD.

Here is our summary of their report:

Some very exciting work is being done by a research team that’s working on investigating the idea that COPD is a ‘disease of accelerated ageing’!!

Within the research, this team has found that how well a person’s lungs may work declines at a much faster rate in those with COPD than in other people with normal lungs at the same age. The team of researchers think that this shows that those people living with COPD have genes that cause accelerated ageing within their lungs.

One of the thoughts these researchers have had has to do with ‘senescent cells’ that are in the lungs. ‘Senescent Cells’ is a large definition of cells that can’t divide anymore which means they are unable to repair themselves, although they are still active in other ways – which means they can cause inflammation in the lungs that could cause damage as well.

The research team is investigating why this is happening more with those living with COPD than in people who don’t have COPD or other lung issues at similar ages. We already know that it is not just a part of the getting older process.

The question was asked as to ‘why do people with COPD have more senescent cells’?

This particular research team thinks one of the reasons is that people with COPD have more of the senescent cells could be because of a lack of an anti-ageing protein called Sirtuin-1. They have found that people with COPD, this anti-ageing molecule isn’t regulated properly so they seem to have less of it than someone who doesn’t have COPD at a similar age.

The conclusion at this point by this research team is the lack of the Sirtuin-1 molecule could be causing the accelerated ageing of the lungs.

Knowing that Sirtuin-1 could be a key, the project that this research team is looking at (with help in funding by the British Lung Foundation) how a small ‘miRNA’ (a molecule that can inhibit proteins) may be what is bringing down the levels of Sirtuin-1 within the lungs of those with COPD. We are finding that people with COPD have more of this miRNA molecule than most people, which means they have less Sirtuin-1.

With the new development of looking at COPD, the research team has been experimenting on cells taken from people with COPD, and found that by reducing the amount of miRNA, they can raise the levels of Sirtuin-1 and that in turn brings down the senescent cells that cause inflammation and damage to a person’s lungs.

By identifying the right molecules, researchers can use them as ‘biomarkers’, which can be useful for a variety of reasons and it could mean that the medical folks can get better at detecting COPD in people much earlier. Getting an earlier diagnosis would mean starting treatments earlier.

On of the side panels of the research is that many pharmaceutical and biotech companies are beginning to show interest in targeting the ‘senescent cells’ as well so they can begin to create new medicines to help possible repair the inflammation the cells cause.

The kind of research brings new hope to those with COPD despite the fact that it is new and novel, and the team knows that things are still a long way off, but finding it wonderful to be able to work towards a therapy for people battling COPD and discovering ways to slow down the progression of the disease itself.

One note most researchers ask us all to remember – At the moment there is only treatment for the symptoms and not the disease itself.

 (Most of the information for this article comes from a posting on, as well as other studies and trials involving ‘senescent’ or semi-dormant cells.)