Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is a non-profit organization that funds research with the goal of obtaining evidence-based information that helps patients, caregivers and clinicians make better-informed healthcare decisions. The PCORI Board of Governors recently announced in a press release the approval of $83 million to fund 26 different patient-centered, comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies on several medical conditions and patient populations.
One of the awards was for a CER study addressing non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis (NCFB). Bronchiectasis is a respiratory condition characterized by a chronic inflammation that usually results from infection or other condition that injures the walls of the airways, causing irreversible airway dilatation and scarring. In bronchiectasis, the airways slowly lose their ability to clear out mucus, so it accumulates in the lungs, creating an environment prone to bacteria growth that can lead to severe lung infections. Sputum production, chronic cough and recurrent chest infections are signs of the disease.
Bronchiectasis can be associated to cystic fibrosis, a serious genetic disease, or to bacterial infections –NCFB. NCFB is an increasingly common lung disease affecting around 110,000 adult individuals in the United States. The 3-year research project is entitled “Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Inhaled Corticosteroids and Antimicrobial Compounds for Non-CF Bronchiectasis,” and the principal investigator is Dr. Kevin Winthrop from Oregon Health & Science University.
The goal of the project, developed in collaboration with NCFB patients, is to compare the benefits and risks of current treatment options for the disease, namely steroids, primarily inhaled corticosteroids, and antibiotics. The team hypothesizes that the long-term use of inhaled corticosteroids might induce an increased risk for pneumonia hospitalization and infection with nontuberculous mycobacteria and other opportunistic microorganisms. On the other hand, chronic use of antibiotics may protect against these adverse events.
Since NCFB patients will be involved throughout the project, from the design to the efforts to achieve the goals set, the research team expects the results to be meaningful for the patient population and the clinical community, namely through a better understanding of the benefits and risks of each therapy.
The other PCORI awards approved will fund studies on multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, diabetes, arthritis, syringomyelia (a neurological disorder), and end-stage renal disease, among others. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a topic receiving considerable funding with two awards totaling $29.5 million, as HCV is considered a top health concern.
PCORI started funding research in 2012, and with these new awards it has approved to date $1.18 billion in a total of 468 patient-centered outcomes research projects.