Department of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh

Emphysema COPD Research Center

Program Description

The Emphysema COPD Research Center (ECRC) is focused on the investigation of fundamental biologic concepts in advanced chronic obstructive lung disease, particularly emphysema.  The program utilizes advanced tools in molecular, biochemical, physiologic, and radiographic assessment for research investigations which are predominantly based in clinical medicine.

The Emphysema COPD Research Center, directed by Dr. Frank Sciurba, has demonstrated national leadership in the field of surgical and novel bronchoscopic lung volume reduction procedures, pulmonary rehabilitation, and pulmonary physiology and exercise testing.  The primary program faculty includes Dr. Frank Sciurba and Dr. Jessica Bon.

The ECRC relies on successful basic, translational, and clinical science collaborations with the departments of clinical pharmacology and biochemistry, radiology, epidemiology, and with other local and international collaborators.  The center is also involved in extensive scientific collaborations with the University of Pittsburgh HIV Lung Research Center (HLRC), directed by Dr. Alison Morris. The ECRC maintains an active registry for patient participation in clinical research trials of novel treatments for patients with advanced COPD.

Program Facilities

The ECRC occupies over 2000 square feet in the Kaufmann Building and approximately 450 square feet on the 6th floor of UPMC Montefiore.  The Kaufmann facilities are located on two floors and consist of 13 rooms providing space for pulmonary function, cardiopulmonary exercise, and lung mechanics testing and office space for a project administrator, 8 coordinators, 3 patient exam rooms, data coordinator, 2 physicians, and a reception/administrative assistant.

The UPMC Montefiore facilities are located on the 6th floor and provide space for 4 coordinators and a pulmonary function testing room with desk space for two pulmonary function technicians.

The ECRC has a close working relationship with the Clinical and Translational Research Center, a NIH funded inpatient and outpatient research support facility with state of the art resources and staff to support more complex protocols as well as 24-hour care and study assistance.

A covered parking garage adjoins both the Kaufmann Building and UPMC-Montefiore with multiple handicap parking spaces within a short distance of elevator access making for easy patient and study subject entry and exit.

Clinical Trials

The Emphysema COPD Research Center is currently participating in several ongoing NIH and industry sponsored studies.  In addition, the ECRC maintains an active registry for patient participation in clinical research trials. 
The current research activities of the Emphysema COPD Research Center include:

  • Specialized Centers of Clinically Oriented Research (SCCOR) in COPD:  The study of the molecular and cellular basis of COPD subphenotypes and the role of quantitative imaging in the assessment and reclassification of COPD.
  • The study of emphysema and COPD as it relates to systemic co-morbidities including osteoporosis and abnormalities of body composition.
  • The assessment of methodology of exercise testing and activity monitoring in COPD.
  • GSK Arterial Stiffness in COPD:  A 24-week Study to Evaluate the Effect of Fluticasone Furoate/Vilanterol 100/25 Mcg Inhalation Powder Delivered Once-daily Via a Novel Dry Powder Inhaler on Arterial Stiffness Compared With Placebo and Vilanterol in Subjects With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
  • The Long Term Oxygen Treatment Trial (LOTT):  The study of the impact of supplemental oxygen on mortality and quality of life in COPD patients with either mildly decreased resting oxygen level or oxygen desaturation during exercise.
  • STATCOPE:  The study of the effectiveness of statin therapy on reducing the number and/or severity of COPD exacerbations.
  • Lung Volume Reduction Coil Treatment for Patients with Emphysema (RENEW) Study: The FDA has recently approved a new clinical research study to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of RePneu® Lung Volume Reduction Coil for patients with emphysema. RePneu Coil therapy, developed by PneumRx Inc., is approved in Europe. The treatment is non-surgical, with an average procedure time of 30-40 minutes. In multiple European studies, some patients experienced relief of emphysema symptoms, including: reduced breathlessness, higher quality of life, improved ability to exercise, and better lung function.
    You can find out more about this study by clicking on the links below:
    UPMC Press Release
    WPXI Local Media Coverage

The Emphysema COPD Research Center has also participated in three of the largest NIH sponsored studies in patients with COPD.

For further information, please contact the Emphysema COPD Research Center at 866-948-COPD (2673) or email: ecrc@upmc.edu