New Clinical Trial at LA BioMed/Harbor-UCLA and USC Offers Hope for Emphysema Patients

APPROVAL #13041956.1

Michelle McAdam, Chronic Communications, (310) 902-1274


Investigational Treatment May Help Lungs Function More Effectively Without Surgery, Enabling Better Breathing and Quality of Life

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – June 4, 2015 – A clinical trial for patients suffering from severe emphysema, a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), recently commenced at two Los Angeles medical centers to study a new, investigational treatment that may help them breathe easier without surgery. Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) and the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center are the only centers in Los Angeles participating in this clinical trial, which is taking place at 12 other centers across the United States.

Emphysema affects more than four million people in the U.S. and is a progressive disease causing continual breathlessness for patients, even while at rest.  Smokers or ex-smokers are most commonly affected by the disease, where portions of the lung are destroyed and air is trapped in pockets, hyperinflating localized regions in the lung. The hyperinflated portion of the lung compresses the healthy areas of the lung, making it difficult to breathe. The inability to breathe freely can drastically limit a patient’s stamina and activity level, as well as their quality of life.

Today, emphysema patients often use medication and/or inhalers to relieve symptoms, but the disease is progressive so their lungs continue to deteriorate over time.  Severe emphysema patients have no commercially available alternatives except lung volume reduction surgery, which is associated with high morbidity and mortality, and lung transplantation, which is limited by the availability of donor organs.

The treatment being studied in the LIBERATE study is endobronchial lung volume reduction using the Zephyr® Endobronchial Valve.  In those patients who are identified as potential responders, tiny one-way valves are placed in the lungs to block airflow to diseased regions of the lung.  This allows healthy regions to expand and function more efficiently, enabling better breathing and improving quality of life. Minimally invasive surgery is involved in the procedure.

The principal investigator for the LIBERATE study at LA BioMed/Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is David Hsia, M.D., associate professor of medicine.  The principal investigator for the LIBERATE Study at Keck Medicine of USC is P. Michael McFadden, M.D., professor of cardiothoracic surgery and surgical director of lung transplantation.

More than 25,000 Zephyr valves have been implanted outside of the U.S. in the last 10 years. Clinical studies in Europe have shown that the majority of patients who undergo the procedure experience significant improvement in lung function, exercise tolerance and quality of life. Results from the LIBERATE Study will be used as part of the submission seeking approval from the FDA.

For more information about the LIBERATE clinical trial, please visit or call (888) 248-LUNG (5864).

CAUTION: The Zephyr Endobronchial Valve is an investigational device in the U.S., limited by U.S. law to investigational use.


  • Avatar
    David Hsia
    Posted at 16:05h, 10 June Reply

    I am the principal investigator at the Harbor-UCLA site. This is an exciting trial investigating a unique therapy for COPD. It uses a flexible camera (bronchoscope) instead of surgery, hence the sometimes-confusing term “minimally-invasive surgery”. I would welcome anyone interested in learning more about this trial to please contact us! Our study coordinator is Leticia Diaz and she can be reached at 310-222-8200 extension 7258.

  • Avatar
    Robert Bock
    Posted at 14:37h, 24 November Reply

    I would love to be considered for any of your clinical trials as it pertains to emphysema. my symptoms are there as I was a smoker most of my life but am not a smoker now.

    • Avatar
      Posted at 07:12h, 05 December Reply

      Thank you very much, Robert. Congratulations on getting out from under the smoking habit!

      The major limiting factor in research on therapies for emphysema is finding people willing to participate in clinical research. Please let us know if you’re located in the Los Angeles area (within driving distance of Torrance). If so, we’ll forward your message to one of our staff, who will coordinate an introductory visit to our research center.

  • Avatar
    Dennis Flader
    Posted at 17:57h, 02 February Reply

    I noticed this article is from 2015. Since this is now 2019 I am wondering if this clinical trial for emphysema is still going on. I have stage 4 emphysema and COPD and have stopped smoking 6 years ago. I live in Michigan and am extremely interested in participating in any clinical trial that you offer. The article stated that you have 12 locations around the U.S. and I’m hoping there is one near me. Any information you can give me is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Avatar
      Harry Rossiter
      Posted at 21:38h, 15 June Reply

      Dear Dennis,

      You are fortunate to live close to one of the leading COPD research centers in the Country. University of Michigan is host to several clinical trials for patients with COPD. The particular trial that you expressed interested in (the LIBERATE trial) has now completed, and the pulmonary valve device we were studying is now FDA approved for clinical use. But this approval is only thanks to interested people like you who are willing to volunteer to help advance science and find effective treatments for COPD. Thank you!

      You can find current clinical trials near you using the national clinical trials register at

      Warm regards,

      Harry Rossiter, PhD

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