COPD Awareness Month: Looking Towards a Cure

This month, we observe COPD Awareness Month — a time to educate on the disease while reflecting on how far we’ve come in terms of treatment, and how clinical research is the path to a cure. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is the third leading disease-related cause of death in the United states. Nearly 16 million people are living with it, and many more may have it without knowing it. There’s no known cure yet — treatment manages symptoms and can delay progression. 

Historically, the population of patients living with COPD has been difficult to reach for research participation. The reason is two-fold: they are often older and may be hesitant to volunteer for research, and COPD is linked to smoking and many patients feel stigmatized. But at Antidote, we specialize in connecting with hard-to-reach patient populations. As we reflect on research progress in COPD, we’re proud of how many patients we’ve connected to trials in this area. In fact, in one particular case, we were able to randomize 92 patients into a single COPD trial. 

In this instance, a CRO was conducting a COPD study in the US and Canada, and after three years of attempting to enroll the study, they were still coming up short. They were looking for patients with COPD who were former smokers without asthma, and who took a certain regimen of medications. To reach this particularly targeted population, we conducted thorough persona research, created a prescreener on a dedicated landing page, and developed a data-driven patient outreach plan, which included customized digital marketing strategies and connecting with global partners with large reach. In this study, sites were particularly overburdened, so we provided the opportunity for qualified patients to book directly into site calendars. As always, we optimized our outreach in real time and were able to deliver quality referrals. In 9 months, we’re proud that 10,000 patients took our prescreener — 2,800 were eligible and in the end, 92 patients randomized. This saved our client 5.5 months of recruitment time. 

COPD Awareness Month inspires us to continue on our mission of accelerating clinical research, and helps us sharpen our focus on the patient. We thank all patients who have participated in COPD trials in the past — we’ll keep doing what we can to drive research into better treatment options and maybe someday, a cure.