The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Do New Genetic Risk Markers for COPD Overlap with Other Lung Diseases?

17 Feb 2017
| Under COPD, Lung Disease, Medical | Posted by | 2 Comments
Do New Genetic Risk Markers for COPD Overlap with Other Lung Diseases?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 12 million U.S. adults have a COPD diagnosis. In addition, it is estimated that another 12 million U.S. adults have undiagnosed COPD. Currently, smoking is the leading cause of COPD, but exposure to air pollutants and genetic factors play a role as well. Doctors and researchers continue to study COPD in hopes of learning more about the condition, what causes it and how to better address it. Recent research has identified new genetic risk markers for COPD. Here’s the breakdown of what you need to know.

New Genetic Risk Markers for COPD

According to a study, research has found new genetic risk markers for COPD. The study included more than 15,000 people with COPD and was published in the journal Nature Genetics.

The study’s lead author and physician-researcher, said that this new research is “the first step in a longer process in which we hope to better understand the genetic basis for COPD, or what may be several different diseases that present as COPD.”

Even though the main cause of COPD is smoking, it is thought that people’s genes may also play an important role in the development of the disease. In fact, the study revealed that stopping smoking, while very important to general health, may not be enough to completely prevent COPD. Genetic factors could play a larger role than once thought.

How Was the Study about New Genetic Risk Markers for COPD Performed?

The research team performed a “genetic association study by searching for possible risk genes linked to the disease and included genetic variants of 15,256 COPD patients and 47,936 controls. The top findings were investigated further in a second cohort (9,498 COPD patients and 9,748 controls).”

What Did the Team Find in Their Research?

They found 13 new genetic risk variants for COPD. Nine of the variants have well-known roles in lung function. However, four of the variants haven’t been linked to any type of lung function trait until now.

In fact, the results showed that people who carried two of the risk gene variants previously associated with pulmonary fibrosis had an increased risk of developing COPD and a decreased risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis. Simply put, the researchers say that having a vulnerability to COPD may protect against pulmonary fibrosis. The research team also found a genetic link between COPD and asthma.

With these findings about new genetic risk markers for COPD, doctors and researchers may now be able to explore and discover new biological pathways, so they can improve treatments for people with COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and other chronic lung diseases.

What Can You Do?

Understanding your condition will help you stay proactive in your healthcare. Raising awareness about COPD and other chronic lung diseases is also important. Consider asking your doctor about new studies or research about your condition. Your doctor may have helpful information to share. You and your doctor will work together to develop the best COPD treatment plan for you. Remember to see your doctor regularly for check-ups and to discuss any questions, concerns or changes in symptoms.

Keep checking-in with our blog to read articles on a variety of topics to help people breathe easier. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about stem cell treatment options for people with chronic lung diseases. Feel free to contact us at (800) 729-3065.


  1. Matt

    1 year ago

    Hello Julie,
    We’re sorry to hear you feel that your doctor is not giving you proper attention. It is important to have a strong relationship between a patient and a medical provider. At your next appointment, discuss your important questions with your doctor or ANP. If you have any other questions about stem cell therapy, please give us a call at (855) 313-1149.

  2. Julie Ritson

    1 year ago

    My doctor doesn’t seem to keep reviewing my condition in fact I don’t get to see a doctor it is what’s know as an ANP advanced nurse practitioner and she never calls me in for reviews. I feel like nobody cares and your just left to get on with it.

Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

Under current FDA guidelines and regulations 1271.10 and 1271.15, the Lung Institute complies with all necessary requirements for operation. The Lung Institute is firmly in accordance with the conditions set by the FDA for exemption status and conducts itself in full accordance with current guidelines. Any individual who accesses Lung Institute's website for information is encouraged to speak with his or her primary physician for treatment suggestions and conclusive evidence. All information on this site should be used for educational and informational use only.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and stem cell procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.