LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has today announced the start of the UK’s first commercial trial of a new treatment for Sjogren’s syndrome. Up to half a million people in the UK are affected by this autoimmune condition. The study, funded by Novartis, utilises the NIHR Translational Research Partnership to bring together the country’s expert investigators in joint and related inflammatory diseases.
The study will test a new antibody treatment, which has the potential to bring relief to sufferers with Sjogren’s syndrome, a condition where the body’s immune system attacks glands that secrete fluid, such as tears and saliva. Sjogren’s syndrome is the second most common autoimmune condition after rheumatoid arthritis. Yet it remains under recognised and under treated, with only symptomatic relief such as artificial tears available. Women account for about 90 percent of cases.
The NIHR Translational Research Partnership is managed by the NIHR’s Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI) and was specifically developed by the Government to work with life sciences companies on the early development of innovative new treatments.
George Freeman, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Life Sciences commented: “This is a great example of the UK pioneering the development of a new treatment for a real unmet need. We have created the environment in this country that encourages and supports partnership between industry, academia and the NHS, which is vital to create a test bed to bring better medicines to patients faster.”
Mark Samuels, Managing Director of NOCRI said: “The Government established NIHR Translational Research Partnerships to work in collaboration with companies on the development of innovative new treatments. They are already making great progress, particularly in areas where we lack effective treatments. I am delighted that Novartis is working with NOCRI and the NIHR to be able to make use of the NIHR's world-class research expertise to support their clinical development.”
The study is being led by Dr Ben Fisher at the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham and involves four other NIHR expert centres at Newcastle. King's Health Partners, Queen Mary and University College London. All centres are now looking for potential patients to take part in the study.
Dr Fisher said: “Sjogren’s Syndrome can cause substantial distress for patients and we currently have no treatment that can significantly tackle this condition. By working in collaboration with some of the UK’s leading research centres and companies like Novartis we aiming to bring new and better treatments into the clinic and provide real benefit for patients.”
1, About the NIHR
Funded by the Department of Health and established in April 2006, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) aims to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research and is transforming research in the NHS.
2. About NIHR Translational Research Partnerships
NIHR Translational Research Partnerships bring together world-class investigators in the UK’s leading academic and NHS centres to support collaboration with the life sciences industry in early and exploratory development of new drugs and other interventions.
3. About NOCRI
The NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI) helps public, charity and industry research funders work in partnership with NIHR infrastructure and to maximise the impact of the Department of Health’s £0.5b/year investment in clinical research infrastructure. Equally, it ensures that NIHR-supported Centres, Units, Facilities and Networks can work together to help drive the flow of innovative research for patient benefit.