Bradford researchers have recruited the first patient in Europe to a landmark clinical trial treating severe asthma.

The ‘TIDE’ study is being run at the city’s Patient Recruitment Centre (PRC), part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and is evaluating the safety, effectiveness and tolerability of an injection of the drug ‘Amlitelimab’ given to adults with the condition.

The study is aiming to include around 420 participants from across 15 countries, and already in Bradford, the PRC research team has reached its target of recruiting three patients, aged from 18 to 75, in record time.

The first participant – and the first in Europe – is 61-year-old Elaine Walker, of Queensbury, Bradford, who has suffered from severe asthma since the age of 30.

She said: “It started when I was pregnant with my second daughter. I began to feel unwell and I got to the point where I couldn’t breathe. I thought it was the position of the baby at first but it turned out to be asthma,” she said.

“Over the years I have been treated in Bradford as an emergency many times. There have been times when I’ve ended up in the hospital’s HDU (high dependency unit) and I have been ventilated and intubated four times. There have been some very frightening situations. I am really puzzled as to why I started to suffer with asthma as I have never smoked and asthma does not run in the family.”

Elaine is a former nurse who worked in theatre at Bradford Royal Infirmary as well as at St Luke’s Hospital before going into district nursing. She came out of retirement to help with the roll out of COVID-19 vaccinations.

She added that the TIDE trial was the third clinical study around asthma that she had participated in and had been eager to take part in this new trial.

“It’s only through these trials that we can find better drugs and treatments so I was keen to be involved as this could not just help me but others too. The NHS has always been here for me and so I wanted to give something back.”

Elaine, who has received three injections so far, explained that she will be involved with the study for a year, making visits to the PRC every four weeks and keeping a diary each morning and evening recording her peak flow tests – measurements of how quickly you can blow air out of your lungs.

“I really enjoy coming as the team is so lovely and welcoming and really puts you at your ease. If they notice that my peak flow is down when I record my diary, they ring and ask how I am. That’s so reassuring to have that extra security. I feel like there’s always someone there for me.”

Lead Clinical Research Nurse, Kim Storton said that an injection of ‘Amlitelimab’, developed by global healthcare company, Sanofi, would hopefully eradicate the need for people with asthma to use inhalers.

“Participants are given in initial dose of the drug and then continue with the injections roughly every four weeks. Asthma can worsen at different times for different people; for some it can be triggered by seasonal allergens or through exertion through sports. Many conditions can cause flare ups but we hope that this new way of treating asthma can help a wide variety of sufferers,” she said.

Karen Regan, Lead Clinical Research Nurse and Business Manager (Clinical) at the PRC said: “PRC Bradford was delighted when we signed up the first participant in Europe; it’s like scoring a world cup goal. The best part of it though, is it means more of our patients are getting an early opportunity to take part in a clinical trial and the associated benefits this provides.”

Professor Dinesh Saralaya, Director for the Bradford PRC added: “The TIDE asthma trial offers our severe asthma patients the hope of a potential new treatment. If proved effective, this trial could pave the way for a new treatment for severe asthma for millions across the world.

“It’s only by taking part in clinical trials that we can find better drugs, better vaccines and better ways of treating patients, helping to keep people well and prevent them becoming seriously ill. We are very grateful to all our participants who take part in our clinical trials.”

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