April 27, 2009
The Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center (CSCC) in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics was selected by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to coordinate a study looking at patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The contract spans seven years, and the total award is $8,192,632.

CSCC was selected to serve as the Genomics and Informatics Center (GIC) for the SubPopulations and InteRmediate Outcome Measures in COPD Study (SPIROMICS). SPIROMICS supports the prospective collection and analysis of phenotypic, biomarker, genetic, genomic and clinical data from subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for the purpose of identifying patient subpopulations and surrogate markers for use in future clinical trials.

The NHLBI award is the result of cross-campus collaboration, with contributing faculty from the CSCC and biostatistics department, the departments of medicine and of bioinformatics in the School of Medicine, and the School of Information and Library Science.

Dr. Lisa LaVange

Dr. Lisa LaVange

Lisa LaVange, PhD, director of the CSCC and professor of the practice of biostatistics, is the principal investigator of the GIC.

Co-investigators include Drs. Richard Boucher, Claire Doerschuk and Wanda O’Neil in medicine; Drs. Fred Wright and Wei Sun in biostatistics; and Drs. Jane Greenberg and Javed Mostafa in information and library science.

In addition to UNC-Chapel Hill, awards were made to six clinical centers (Columbia University, University of California at Los Angeles, University of California at San Francisco, University of Michigan, University of Utah, and Wake Forest University) and a radiology center (University of Iowa).

Subjects will be enrolled at each of the clinical centers, undergo molecular fingerprinting and extensive phenotyping at a baseline clinical examination, and be followed for three years to identify disease outcomes. The clinical and molecular data will be analyzed to determine homogeneous patient subgroups and to identify and validate surrogate markers of disease severity which will be useful as intermediate outcome measures for future therapeutic clinical trials.

Secondary aims are to clarify the natural history of COPD, develop bioinformatics resources that will enable the utilization and sharing of data in studies of COPD and related diseases, and create a collection of clinical, biomarker, radiographic and genetic data that can be used by external investigators for other studies of COPD.

“The results from this study have the potential to rapidly accelerate the development of new therapies for COPD and its clinical subtypes,” LaVange said. “We are very excited to be working with colleagues from all across the UNC-Chapel Hill campus in this exciting and important study.”


UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or ramona_dubose@unc.edu.



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