GSK, GOLD and the COPD Foundation announce formation of a new external expert Governance Board for the COPD Assessment Test (CAT)

As part of activities at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress in Germany, GSK, the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) ...

As part of activities at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress in Germany, GSK, the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) and the COPD Foundation today announced the formation of a new Governance Board to help promote and encourage further uptake of the ‘COPD Assessment Test’, known as the CAT.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is an umbrella term to describe conditions that limit airflow to the lungs including both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which affect over 210 million people globally.[i] The CAT was developed as a short and easy-to-use tool that could facilitate and encourage meaningful discussions between healthcare professionals and patients, enabling a reliable measure of the impact of COPD on a person’s life to be determined and assessed over time. It measures a number of symptoms, the total scores of which can be used to give an overall objective impact and severity score for a patient’s COPD. This score can then be used to guide discussions and enhance doctor-patient communications, with the ultimate aim of improving the management of COPD and patients’ quality of life.

To access the CAT click here

“The CAT was launched in 2009 to provide physicians and patients with a tool that we believed could help improve the management of COPD. We know the CAT is valued by those working in clinical practice, and also researchers, who use it as an endpoint to evaluate overall treatment effect on patients. However, it has not been universally adopted,” said Ruth Tal-singer, Vice President COPD Clinical Discovery, GSK. “Establishing a new Governance Board signals a new era for the CAT and how it can evolve through the involvement of external respiratory experts.”

John Walsh, President and Co-Founder of the COPD Foundation, said: “We were enthusiastic about establishing and becoming a part of a CAT Governance Board, as we firmly believed this was an important step to help encourage more people to use the tool. We know from our members that they are much more comfortable using tools that are not owned or governed by any individual organisation. We are pleased to be involved in the CAT moving forward on behalf, and for the potential benefit of our members.”

Professor Claus Vogelmeier, GOLD Chair, commented: “I believe establishing a Governance Board for the CAT is an important step in its evolution. From my own first-hand experience I know how useful the CAT can be and I am very supportive and committed to playing a role in efforts to expand usage and explore how we can maximse its value to those who manage COPD but also patients who are living with the disease.” 

The new Governance Board

The new board comprises the following individuals:

  •   Foundation Chair: Paul Jones
  •   GOLD Scientific Committee Chair: Claus Vogelmeier
  •   COPD Foundation Board Member: Steve Rennard
  •   Foundation Academic Research User: Mike Polkey
  •   Foundation Industry Research User: Ruth Tal-Singer
  •   Scientific Adviser: Maggie Tabberer

The primary focus of the Governance Board initially will be to maximise the use and value of the CAT for patients, healthcare professionals and researchers. Key activities will include:

  • Maximise value of CAT by promoting uptake and usage as widely as possible and ensuring adoption of new terms of use
  • Maintain the integrity of CAT by developing and approving translations, which will be available via the website
  • Expand the use of the CAT by utilising apps and digital applications

The Governance Board will also explore the potential of the CAT as a drug development tool. GSK will continue to hold the copyright and to provide day-to-day administrative support to protect the integrity of CAT, to ensure that all translations are managed and made available to patients, healthcare professionals and researchers, and to develop and maintain the website. However in all activities related to the CAT, GSK will be guided by the advice and direction given by the CAT Governance Board.

About the CAT

The CAT was developed as a short and easy-to-use (simple) validated tool to measure the impact of COPD on a patient’s life in an objective way and to monitor changes over time. Patients with COPD can find it difficult to manage their condition and begin to accept their condition as normal, often understating the severity of symptoms and the ways in which COPD impacts on their daily life.  Improving the consistency and ability of physicians to measure the severity and impact of COPD is important to help ensure effective disease management.

The CAT utilises modern psychometric and statistical techniques to ensure that items included in the CAT contribute to the measurement of the impact of COPD on a patient’s life in an accurate and reliable manner. These techniques also ensure that the CAT is useful for men and women alike, with different degrees of COPD disease severity and in different parts of the world. 

About COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a disease of the lungs that includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema or both. COPD is characterised by obstruction to airflow that interferes with normal breathing.

Long-term exposure to lung irritants that damage the lungs and the airways are usually the cause of COPD.[ii] Cigarette smoke, breathing in second-hand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes or dust from the environment or workplace can all contribute to COPD. Most people who have COPD are at least 40 years old when symptoms begin.

About GOLD

The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) works with healthcare professionals and public health officials around the world to raise awareness of COPD and to improve prevention and treatment of this lung disease.

Through the development of evidence-based strategy documents for COPD management, and events such as the annual celebration of World COPD Day, GOLD is working to improve the lives of people with COPD in every corner of the globe.

About the COPD Foundation

Celebrating its 10th anniversary and a decade of progress, the mission of the COPD Foundation is to prevent and cure chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and to improve the lives of all people affected by COPD. The C.O.P.D. Information Line, 866-316-COPD (2673), is a toll-free number for information and referrals on COPD, offering callers access to peer-to-peer patients and caregiver associates.

GSK – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.  For further information please visit

Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements

GSK cautions investors that any forward-looking statements or projections made by GSK, including those made in this announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Such factors include, but are not limited to, those described under Item 3.D 'Risk factors' in the company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2013.


[i] World Health Organization. Global surveillance, prevention and control of chronic respiratory diseases : a comprehensive approach. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2007.

[ii] Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD). Pocket guide to COPD diagnosis, management and prevention