Thousands of patients will benefit under the € 5.3m plan for clinical trials

Thousands of patients from across the State will get faster access to new drugs and treatments under the € 5.3 million plan to fund clinical trials at six hospitals.

Led by University College Dublin’s Clinical Research Center (CRC), the changes will see doubling the number of clinical trials taking place for new and experimental drugs.

“By expanding participation, we will bring the benefits of access to clinical trials to a wider population,” said Prof. Peter Doran, director of the UCD center.

Funded by Board of Health Research (HRB), trials will continue at St Vincent and at Mater hospital, but they will also begin at National Rehabilitation Hospital, ang National Maternity Hospital, St Luke’s in Kilkenny and Wexford General Hospital.

“These patients will come from across the country and from specific patient groups, including rehabilitation and women’s health,” Prof Doran said.

CRC was established in 2006 as an HRB center supporting clinical trials to improve the health and care of patients in Ireland. Its goal is to have clinical trials, incorporated as part of standard patient care, and take findings from those trials and translate them into clinical practice.

Forced abroad

The lack of clinical trials in Ireland means that patients who need access to experimental drugs and therapies, which are not available to the public, often seek out those trials in locations abroad. . It can be expensive, and the tests may not match the needs of patients.

“Access to clinical trials in Ireland saves time for Irish patients and disruption to them and their families by not traveling abroad,” said Irish Patients ’director Stephen McMahon. People like that Vicky Phelan, he said, could be as far away as six months.

The plan could, Mr McMahon said, help Ireland improve its poor record by giving patients here access to new drugs compared to its European neighbors, as well as increase the pool. of expertise.

“It is welcome that graduates and undergraduates can gain the necessary experience at the front line in researching new drugs and therapies,” Mr. McMahon said. adding that gaining access to clinical trials can be “a matter of life or death” for some patients with the disease.

Input of patients

The plan describes more patients in many parts of Ireland gaining access to trials. It will also see the integration of patient perspectives into the design, development, and delivery of any newly proposed trials.

More clinical trials in Ireland is good news for thousands of people like Steven from Cork who stand to benefit. Steven was diagnosed back in 1988 with hypophosphataemia, an inherited disease characterized by low phosphate levels in the blood.

“I was invited to participate in a clinical trial run by UCD / CRC at St Vincent’s hospital, due to chronic bone pain, mainly in the lower body joints, in 2016,” Steven said. “I’ve benefited a lot from participating in the clinical trial. Because at my worst, I haven’t been able to walk. But I’m pretty active in comparison now and don’t have any tablets to take, just one injection every four weeks.”

Funding from HRB, Prof Doran said, has enabled CRC to set up a work package that will make clinical trials smarter and more efficient. “We’re going to do a lot more better tests.”

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