Respiratory team hit research jackpot with world first

The respiratory research team at Bradford Teaching Hospitals has hit the jackpot after recruiting global and European-first patients in two pioneering medical trials.

Thanks to a renowned international reputation in respiratory medicine, pharmaceutical giant GSK has chosen the Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR) to be the first unit worldwide to test its new vaccine for COPD patients.

The multi-centre trial aims to assess whether the vaccine offers protection against a bacteria which commonly causes a worsening in the condition of patients with COPD.

The respiratory research team at BIHR, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has recruited 69-year-old global first patient Harry McCarrick, a married dad-of-seven from Shipley to the trial. Harry has had COPD for 10 years.

He said: “My doctor recommended me to the institute and said if it’s going to benefit me it’s worth coming along.

“I am very happy to take part in the trial and be the global first patient. If taking part in the trial will help me and others, I’m all for it.”

Dr Dinesh Saralaya, Consultant Respiratory Physician and Associate Director of Research at BIHR, said: “Hopefully, Harry will not need any antibiotics or steroids while taking part in the trial.

Response to the vaccine

“He will report to us and we will assess his response to the vaccine – how effective his immune system is in protecting him against the bacteria in question.”

The trial will see two doses of the vaccine administered intramuscularly in COPD patients aged 40 to 80 years old with a previous history of acute exacerbation COPD. Harry will be the first patient across the globe to receive the vaccine.

The condition of Harry and other patients subsequently recruited to the trial will be assessed for 390 days after the second dose of the vaccine has been administered.

“This is a huge step forward in the care of COPD patients in Bradford and the UK,” added Dr Saralaya. “It is likely to open up access to patients in Bradford to this unique medication.”

The team have also recruited a Europe-first patient in the Andhi study into severe asthma.

Former housing officer Ashish Sharma, 44, of Bradford, has severe asthma, and already takes two inhalers, a daily tablet, and steroids to help combat his condition.

Recruited worldwide

Dr Saralaya said: “In this study there will be 1,000 patients recruited worldwide, and we will recruit between three and five patients.

“Our Clinical Trails Unit has recruited the first patient in the whole of Europe which is a big achievement. They have chosen Bradford because of our reputation for recruiting very well into several asthma trials in the past. But support from our research and development department has helped us achieve this.”

The new asthma study aims to assess the efficacy of Benralizumab in patients with severe asthma. Trial patients will receive an injection under their skin every four weeks for a year.

“Benralizumab reduces the inflammation in the lining of breathing tubes – helping to open them and allowing patients to breathe better,” Dr Saralaya added.

Mr Sharma said: “I am happy to take part in any trial that may help me or others. This trial will really benefit me because I may be getting a new medication which is not currently available to any other patients.

“You also get given a device to take home which will assess your condition. If it gets worse it will alert the medical staff here.”