Personalized medicine and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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Purpose of review

The current review summarizes ongoing developments in personalized medicine and precision medicine in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Our current approach is far away of personalized management algorithms as current recommendations for COPD are largely based on a reductionist disease description, operationally defined by results of spirometry.

Recent findings

Besides precision medicine developments, a personalized medicine approach in COPD is described based on a holistic approach of the patient and considering illness as the consequence of dynamic interactions within and between multiple interacting and self-adjusting systems. Pulmonary rehabilitation is described as a model of personalized medicine. Largely based on current understanding of inflammatory processes in COPD, targeted interventions in COPD are reviewed. Augmentation therapy for α-1-antitrypsine deficiency is described as model of precision medicine in COPD based in profound understanding of the related genetic endotype.


Future developments of precision medicine in COPD require identification of relevant endotypes combined with proper identification of phenotypes involved in the complex and heterogeneous manifestations of COPD.

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