Nature Outlook |


For a disease that is thought to affect more than 250 million people, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has long been overlooked. As prevalence climbs, researchers are working to shed new light on COPD and to meet the growing public-health problem head on.

This Nature Outlook is editorially independent, produced with financial support from a third party. About this content.


An imaging biomarker, nerve therapy and other highlights from clinical trials and laboratory studies.

Outlook | | Nature

Many people with symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease don’t meet the criteria for diagnosis. The field is grappling with how to define and treat these patients.

Outlook | | Nature

Extracellular vesicles released in response to cigarette smoke might trigger chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but engineered versions could be a treatment.

Outlook | | Nature

More from Nature Research

Patients with early-stage chronic lung disease need holistic support to limit the physical, mental and social impacts of the condition. There is more to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than persistent airflow limitation; systemic effects, including loss of muscle strength and higher risk of heart conditions, mental health and social problems can manifest from the early stages. Frits Franssen at CIRO, the Netherlands, and co-workers interviewed 810 participants aged 55–65 from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam to investigate the physical, mental and social status of COPD sufferers and compare them with healthy controls. Those with COPD were more likely to walk slower, tire easily and perceive themselves as having poor overall health. Socially, COPD patients were less likely to have long-term partners and felt the need for more emotional support than their healthy peers.

Article | Open Access | | npj Primary Care Respiratory Medicine