Things to Look Forward To
Here is a simple list. It contains what we can look forward to. New discoveries.
A great scientific leap
Science has taken a thousand-year leap just in the past 30 years. I remember studying DNA when I was in high school in the '80s. Today DNA is just the beginning. Researchers know about genes. They know what proteins each gene makes. They know what the proteins do. They know what proteins turn on biological processes. They know what biological processes are responsible for COPD.
“Hmph,” a researcher might say, scratching her head, “Perhaps we can block this biological process that causes COPD.” This may lead to an understanding of how to manipulate biological processes to prevent people from developing COPD or reduce its effects. “Hmph,” a researcher might say, scratching her head, “Perhaps we can mimic this effect with a medicine?"
Maybe this will be a future treatment option. Maybe it will help us develop a way to cure COPD. Or, maybe it will help us prevent people from developing this disease in the first place. Thoughts like these lead to discoveries of new medicines.
New medicinal options
On this site, we have many articles talking about this new medicine or that new medicine. I personally have written several articles about medicines currently being studied by researchers. Some of these medicines may not pan out though we can certainly bet that some of them might. Some are close to being approved by the FDA. Others may take a while. Some may be worth getting excited about which may spark some interesting discussions in doctors' offices.
Asthma is another chronic lung disease similar to COPD. Medicines used to treat asthma may also benefit us. A medicine may be studied for asthma. The FDA may approve it for asthma. This means this new medicine can be used in the treatment of asthma. Still, off-label use is legal in this country. This means that any medicine approved for other diseases can also be used by us. Medicines approved for asthma can be used for COPD (or they can at least be considered). This considerably increases the pool of potential treatment options available to us.
An eventual cure
Right now we yearn for better treatment options. Is there a future medicine that may block the effects of COPD? Will it reverse the effects and, in effect, cure COPD? And let’s not forget about other options currently being studied. What about stem cell research? Is it possible a future medicine may, in essence, grow us a healthy set of lungs while we are still alive? I’m speculating here, but anything is possible in the exciting world of science that we currently live in.
Now let’s talk about our children. They will probably be exposed to environmental hazards in the air. They too may have asthma or COPD genes. So, researchers are also working on potential ways to prevent them from ever getting COPD in the first place. Maybe there will be a simple blood test. At the age of ten, we get our blood drawn and it shows if we have asthma or COPD genes. Those folks who test positive may be prescribed some future medicine to prevent that gene from causing lung disease.
Anything is possible
When I was 16, I remember getting up one wintery day. Dad and I were looking out the window at the snow-covered car. Dad said, “Well, one of us has to go turn that thing on.” I, of course, knew that “one of us” meant me. I said, “Dad, wouldn’t it be neat if we had a car starter attached to our key chain. We could just aim it at our car from the window.” Dad said, “That would be nice. But I don’t envision that ever happening.” Well, it wasn’t ten years later and the remote car starter was a real thing.
Yes, anything is possible. We can dream - and we can dream big. Some day, you may read about this new treatment option or that and you have a right to begin the discussion. “Hey, doctor, what do you think about this?”
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How has your experience been navigating the healthcare system as someone with COPD?