Our Lung Research
Improves Lives



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Clinical trials study whether or not new medicines, devices, or diagnostic techniques work and are safe for use.

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Qualified participants will receive study-related care, study-related exams and study-related medication at no cost.

Our Mission

We are advancing the understanding of lung disease and innovative treatments that improve quality-of-life and survival for patients.

Current Trial Areas

If you are interested in participating in a study or would like more information, register now or contact The Lung Research Center at 314-439-LUNG (5864) or email: thelungcenter@stlukes-stl.com.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a disease of the airways and air sacs of the lung. The lung tissue in patients with COPD usually has evidence of emphysema, which is caused by the destruction of the elastic properties of the lung, often by enzymes released from white blood cells that are recruited to the lung by cigarette smoke. The destruction of the lungs elastic fibers results in enlargement of airspaces and trapping of air. Usually caused by cigarette smoking, the disease can be slowed or stopped by smoking cessation and can be treated with medication. Medication can result in the relief of symptoms of COPD and reduction in flare ups of the disease. Proving that medication actually slows deterioration of COPD has been more difficult.

COPD can be subdivided into different stages (The “GOLD” classification system), ranging from mild to very severe. Optimal treatment of COPD is often determined by the Gold stage, but not always.

Recent clinical trials have focused on the development of new, longer acting bronchodilators , new inhaled corticosteroids, and new anticholinergic agents and new combinations of two or three drugs in one inhaler. The ability of these medications, either alone or in combination, to reduce the frequency of flare ups (exacerbations) or hospitalizations, or to reduce the rate of decline in lung function is the objective of most recent and upcoming clinical trials.

The Lung Research Center has participated in most of the major clinical trials for the treatment of COPD, including the Torch Trial, The Uplift Trial and the recently completed Summit Trial.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IF) is the most common of the interstitial lung diseases, affecting 120,000 patients in the United States. It is a lethal disease that historically has carried a 60-80% 5 year mortality. Approximately 40,000 people die each year of IPF, the same number that die of breast cancer.  Until October of 2014, there was no FDA approved treatment.

The approval of nintedanib (OFEV) and pirfenidone (Esbriet) has provided two new drugs that slow the progression of the disease.  Since, 1998, The Lung Research Center has participated in all of the major clinical trials that sought a treatment for this disease. In 2010, the Lung Research Center was selected to become a member of the IPFnet, an NIH sponsored network of 26 predominately academic institutions with experience and skill in the diagnosis and treatment of IPF. The Lung Research Center participated in the ASCEND trial (pirfenidone) and the Inpulsis Trial (nintedanib) that led to the approval of Esbriet and Ofev,.

We continue to actively participate in all currently available clinical trials for the treatment of IPF.


Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways in which many cells and cellular elements play a role in causing swelling and narrowing of the airways of the lung. The chronic inflammation is associated with airway responsiveness that leads to recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, mucus production and coughing, particularly at night or in the early morning. The hallmark of asthma is its reversibility with bronchodilators. People who have only partial reversibility may have COPD or a combination of asthma and COPD , also known as asthma/COPD overlap syndrome (ACOS).

Recent clinical trials have focused on treating subsets of asthma patients with elevated blood cells called eosinophils with antibodies against those cells. Additional trials of new bronchodilators and inhaled steroids are also underway.

Interstitial Lung Disease

Interstitial Lung is a general category that includes many different lung conditions. Types of Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) include Interstitial Pneumonia, IPF, Nonspecific Interstitial Pneumonitis (lung disease often present with an autoimmune condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Scleroderma), Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia (COP), Sarcoidosis, and Asbestosis.

Recent clinical trials have focused on testing new therapies for lung diseases and studying patterns of lung disease in different groups of people.






Bronchiectasis shares many clinical features with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including inflamed and easily collapsible airways, obstruction to airflow, and frequent office visits and hospitalizations. The diagnosis is usually established clinically on the basis of chronic daily cough with thick mucus production, and radiographically by the presence of  dilated bronchial tubes on chest CAT scans.

There are over 100,000 people with bronchiectasis in the United States, occurring primarily in older people, the majority of whom are women. Symptoms of bronchiectasis are similar to those seen in asthma, COPD and chronic bronchitis. They include cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chronic mucus production. People who have bronchiectasis may often be colonized by atypical organisms, such as fungi or atypical TB. The presence of these organisms, in some patients, may lead to actual clinical infections that require treatment.

Clinical trials for the treatment of bronchiectasis have focused on the development of new agents that reduce the frequency of flare ups or hospitalizations and improvement of day to day symptoms. Most of the agents tested are inhaled medications.


A pulmonary embolus is a blockage of an artery in the lungs by fat, air, a blood clot, or tumor cells. A pulmonary embolus is most often caused by a blood clot in a vein, especially a vein in the leg, thigh or in the pelvis (hip area) that travels to the lung.

Deep venous thrombosis(DVT) is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein that is deep inside the body. Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) mainly affects the large veins in the lower leg and thigh. Blood clots may form when something slows or changes the flow of blood in the veins. The clot can block blood flow and cause swelling and pain. When a clot breaks off and moves through the bloodstream, this is called an embolism. An embolism can get stuck in the brain, lungs, heart, or other area, leading to severe damage.

We are not currently enrolling for PE/DVT trials, but we are constantly reviewing new studies for future enrollment.

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension (PH)is a generic term that refers to the elevation of pressures in the pulmonary arteries. There are many causes of pulmonary hypertension, including stiffness of the heart muscle, abnormalities of the heart valves, severe lung disease and chronic, unresolved blood clots in the lung. Pulmonary ARTERIAL hypertension (PAH) refers to elevation of pulmonary artery pressures due to abnormalities in the tiny blood vessels of the lung itself. The blood vessels become thickened, distorted and narrowed which results in obstruction of blood flow through the vessels. It is this form of pulmonary hypertension that is amenable to treatment with recently developed medications and which is the target of many recent clinical trials.

Recent trials investigating new treatments for pulmonary hypertension have focused on new drug development as well as new combinations of existing drugs. Recent research has proven that two drug therapy at the outset of treatment is superior to starting only one drug. New trials are likely to assess different combinations of medications.

Located on the campus of St. Luke’s Hospital, The Lung Research Center has conducted clinical trials for the treatment of complex lung disease for over 20 years. We have stayed true to our original mission to offer our patients access to new treatments currently under investigation and not ordinarily available.

Our Research Center has contributed to advances in the understanding of lung disease including innovative medical treatments that have improved quality-of-life and survival for patients.

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