Research News

EU research news

Monday, 10 February 2014 14:53

Read the latest EU news for information on changes to clinical trials regulation and about e-learning courses for researchers aiming to improve their abilities to commercialize research findings in the area of health.

European Commission actively searches for external experts in hepatogastroenterology

Monday, 10 February 2014 14:46

Each year, the European Commission Directorate General for Research & Innovation, with the help of external experts, reviews many research proposals. Becoming an external expert has several advantages, such as gaining valuable insight into the Horizon 2020 programme and extensive network opportunities. Experts act in their personal, independent capacity and do not represent their institutions or organisations. Registering as an expert will not interfere with the capacity to apply for Horizon 2020 funding. Furthermore, compensation is offered for the evaluation work. More information can be found here.

Improving public health: tackling alcohol misuse

Monday, 10 February 2014 11:51

The NIHR Evaluations, Trials and Studies programmes have funded independent research to add to the evidence base to help tackle the rise in alcohol misuse. Projects aim to produce high-quality research providing information of immediate value to healthcare decision- and policy-making. Further details of the programmes, including RCTs funded by the HTA programme, such as STeroids or Pentoxifyline for Alcoholic Hepatitis (STOPAH), can be found in NETS news.

BSG members win substantial funding for clinical trial

Tuesday, 07 January 2014 15:22

Several BSG members were co-applicants on a recent successful application for substantial funding of a clinical trial in hepatology. Prof Mark Thursz, Dr Steve Ryder, Prof Matthew Cramp, Dr Paul Richardson and Dr Stuart McPherson are among a group represented by Dr Alastair O’Brien. The group received £1.6 million from the Health Innovation Challenge Fund (joint Wellcome Trust and Department of Health) for ATTIRE (Albumin To prevenT Infection in chronic liveR failure).

The money will fund a multi-centre, clinical, phase II and phase III trial at 15 sites that will examine whether administration of albumin to patients admitted with decompensated liver failure, in order to increase plasma levels to near normal, will prevent hospital acquired infection. Dr O'Brien's local clinical research network (LCRN) will fund the research nurse costs (>£1million).

Over 100,000 patients are admitted to hospital every year with advanced liver cirrhosis; infection is their most common problem. Dr O’Brien and his team have shown that, in these patients, leukocyte function is markedly impaired by an up-regulation of the hormone Prostaglandin E2; infusion of albumin can reverse this process by binding and neutralising its effects. Albumin is widely considered by hepatologists to be beneficial in liver disease but no putative mechanism had been identified, so no consensus had developed for how to prescribe it. Dr O’Brien and colleagues aim to repurpose albumin as an immunity-restoring drug to improve leukocyte function in patients with advanced cirrhosis and therefore improve their ability to fight off infection. They hope to demonstrate that its use will lead to reduced rates of nosocomial infection and mortality and shorter hospital stays, thereby reducing health care costs.

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