Date: 27 November 2017
In August this year the team at Barts Health NHS Trust successfully recruited the first patient in the world to a new international psoriatic arthritis trial; a success they put down to great teamwork with the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) in North Thames.
Whipps Cross University Hospital, a part of Barts Health NHS Trust, have a long history of conducting research. They ran their first rheumatoid arthritis study in 1998 and have grown the department steadily since.
Psoriatic arthritis is a painful condition which causes inflammation in and around the joints. It usually affects people who already have psoriasis, an uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing skin condition that causes a sore, itchy and scaly rash. The condition can affect any of the 78 joints in the body, and many sufferers have difficulty walking, or using their hands to perform simple everyday tasks. Taking part in this research at Whipps Cross in London, offers patients new treatment options and the hope of an enriched life.
The trial, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, compares a new drug with an existing one. The new drug operates in a different way and may prove effective for those who do not respond well to existing medication.
Led by Dr Hasan Tahir, Consultant Rheumatologist, the Whipps Cross study team worked closely with CRN North Thames to ensure the trial was up and running in record time. The UK and NHS have rigorous regulatory checks and standards and the team worked seamlessly to ensure everything was in place. Their efforts enabled a rapid set up and meant that the trial was quickly made available to patients.
Speaking to Dr Tahir he explained why this was so important: “There are no cures for this condition and the disease affects people’s lives. The symptoms don’t just affect a patients’ health, they impact hugely on their relationships and quality of life.
“This trial offers a new option to those who have not responded to previous treatments and the possibility of improving their symptoms. It can make a tangible difference to mobility and that changes lives”.
“This is a win-win for our patients” says Dr Tahir. “both treatments have been found to be effective and here there is no placebo group, meaning all patients in the trial are given access to drugs I consider to be proven. We used to feel powerless to help when a patient didn’t respond to one type of medication, but now we can offer patients options early in their illness”.
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