VUB to lead international consortium on palliative care for chronic lung disease

VUB to lead international consortium on palliative care for chronic lung disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is responsible for 2.9 million deaths every year globally and is the third most common cause of death. While palliative care has traditionally been focused on cancer patients, it also offers potential for patients with diseases such as COPD. Despite the potential benefits, timely implementation of palliative care in non-cancer settings in the EU is constrained by factors such as limited access to services, a lack of patient involvement in decision-making and insufficient training of healthcare providers.

Under the leadership of VUB professors Koen Pardon and Luc Deliens, the EU PAL-COPD project brings together a diverse consortium of experts in the fields of medical, palliative and respiratory care, sociology, psychology, healthcare services, economy and communication. The objective is to integrate palliative care in the treatment of advanced COPD in various European healthcare systems. Supported by renowned institutions such as the European Respiratory Society and the European Association for Palliative Care, EU PAL-COPD could significantly improve emotional support and information for COPD patients and their families, offering hope for those affected by advanced COPD.

“We are very happy that the EU has released this budget to take this project from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel to seven countries. With it, we want to improve the quality of life of patients with advanced COPD and their families,” says Professor Koen Pardon. Prof Luc Deliens adds: “It’s our belief that this integrated approach will set new standards in how we deal with COPD in our healthcare systems.”

EU PAL-COPD aims to improve palliative care for advanced COPD patients through the innovative ICLEAR-EU service model. This non-pharmacological approach emphasises patient and family-centred care, including pre-care planning and shared decision-making. The researchers will carry out a pioneering clinical trial in 18 hospitals in six European countries, integrating palliative care into pulmonary medicine on a large scale. It will include the patient’s perspective from the beginning of the process.

The European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme has granted €7.55 million to 13 organisation in seven countries for the EU PAL-COPD project. It began on 1 January 2024 and aims to improve the well-being of millions of COPD patients and their families.


Koen Pardon

Luc Deliens

Koen Stein
Koen Stein Perscontact wetenschap & innovatie



About Press - Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

The World Needs You

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


Press - Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussel