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Salford Successfully recruits to COPD vaccine study

COPD lungs

Researchers from Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust have successfully over-recruited to a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) exacerbation vaccine study.

The study’s purpose was to test the safety of a vaccine to prevent exacerbations in patients with COPD and whether it’s able to protect against infections with a bacteria called non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi).

COPD is a disease in which there is a reduction in the flow of air into the lungs which makes patients breathless. If you have COPD, your lungs are constantly irritated, so can become very sensitive if you get an infection and cause your breathlessness to become worse. The NTHi bacteria is thought to be one of the most important causes of acute exacerbations in patients with COPD.

Salford’s researchers, led by Dr Nawar Bakerly and assisted by Anne Keen, the manager of the Barnes Clinical Research Facility, had a target of five patients and managed to recruit eight. They initially used some local GP practices as PIC sites to refer eligible patients. However, this method wasn’t deemed too successful due to the time and effort to set each site up and the time constraints that GPs are already under. Respiratory consultants also made referrals at their clinics, but despite a lot of patients showing interest, not many were eligible. The key to the study’s successful recruiting came when radio adverts were booked. A week’s worth of ads, generated 100 interested calls.  Awareness of the study was also raised through advertising on the Salford Citizen Scientist Project. 

This COPD study’s success follows closely behind the recent Boostrix study, in which two Greater Manchester GP practices – Swan Lane surgery in Bolton and Wellfield Medical Centre in Prestwich – played their part helping the study recruit ahead of time and to target. The Boostrix study evaluated a new DTPa-polio vaccine for three and four year olds, compared to the current treatment.

Paul Hedgeland, Business Development Manager at CRN: Greater Manchester, explains how we’re set up to support more vaccine studies locally:

“Prof Ray Borrow is Head of Public Health England’s Vaccine Evaluation Unit (VEU) which specialises in serological determination of immune responses to a number of specific problematic bacteria. The VEU is internationally recognised for serum bactericidal antibody assays; has an active research programme; and encourages collaborations locally, nationally and internationally. It would be opportune to build on this expertise with a robust vaccine research programme through the newly founded Manchester Vaccine Research Group. The group supported the Boostrix and COPD studies [mentioned above].”