The COPD Foundation (COPDF) today announced expansion of its Bronchiectasis Research Registry to include patients with Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM), an often misdiagnosed orphan disease that can cause severe lung infections that mimic tuberculosis when certain individuals are exposed to soil and water. The Bronchiectasis Research Registry has enrolled nearly 1,100 individuals with non-CF bronchiectasis to date.
"NTM lung disease is a devastating illness that is challenging to treat," said John W. Walsh, president of the COPD Foundation. "For unknown reasons, a once productive individual struck with NTM is often left with permanent lung damage and recurring illness including loss of hearing and vision."
Individuals can become infected with NTM through environmental exposure to water, including potable water supplies, and soil through inhalation, ingestion and breaks in the skin due to injuries, surgical procedures, or IV catheters. Unlike tuberculosis, NTM cannot be passed from person to person. Many individuals with NTM have underlying lung problems such as bronchiectasis or other forms of COPD, Cystic Fibrosis or Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency.
According to Philip Leitman, president of NTM Information and Research, "Because many of the existing treatments are so undefined, new research gives individuals with this disease hope and the information encourages them to participate in their own care."
Source: COPD Foundation