A 'world first' Salford study to revolutionise respiratory medicine is being praised by experts.
It is examining the safety and effectiveness of a new respiratory medicine for diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
If the pilot scheme is successful it will revolutionise respiratory medicine.
Professor Ashley Woodcock, Head of the School of Transitional Medicine at The University of Manchester, said: “The Salford Lung study is completely unique worldwide.
“We haven’t seen a study of this size in a drug before launch before. It is going to be a drug in the community, a fantastic first for Salford.”
The study is a collaboration between GlaxoSmithKline, the NHS and The University of Manchester, local GP’s and community pharmacies.
Around 4,000 patients who suffer from chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD) and 5,000 asthma sufferers are taking part in the study.
Patient recruitment for the COPD part of the study began in March. The asthma programme is currently being finalized and, subject to review by the appropriate regulatory bodies, it is hoped recruitment will begin in May 2012.
It is hoped that the patients receiving treatment with the new drug will achieve better health outcomes.
More than 50 local pharmacies and GP surgeries are taking part, including major retailers Boots and Lloyds.
Patients who have signed up will remain in the trial for 12 months, though the main study is expected to last for up to two years.
Salford GP Dr Sheila McCorkindale said: “Patients will be able to join the study at their own practices and once they have had their initial visits they will get normal medical care for the next year.”
The study will provide valuable information on the drugs performance as opposed to trialling it within a normal clinical setting.
Professor Woodcock said: “This can make it difficult for decision makers to determine their possible value and this may subsequently restrict patient access.
“The Salford Lung Study aims to address this by collecting data in a more ‘real-world’ setting, enabling us to better evaluate the potential impact on the healthcare system.”
Dr McCorkindale said: “A lot of patients who have complex medical or social conditions may usually be excluded from a normal trial.
“When people are in a normal clinical trial, because they are monitored really closely their behaviour will change.”
Salford was chosen for the pilot scheme due to having a number of unique advantages.
Gerry Haydock, a member of Salford Local Pharmaceutical Committee explained that Salford has a unique IT system because it provides up-to-date real-time information on the patient.
Professor Woodcock said: “Salford has an enthusiastic set of GPs and clinicians and this was one of the driving forces behind the decision to pick Salford for the study.
“Salford has a very stable population with a lot of asthma and COPD, which are the conditions we are talking about; probably 25,000 people.”
Salford’s history as an industrial centre is one of the main reasons behind this statistic as it is an urban area that has seen a lot of pollution and there are a lot of people who smoke.
President of GSK Pharmaceuticals Europe, Eddie Gray, said: “The Salford Lung Study reflects our commitment to developing innovative medicines of real value that will benefit patients and healthcare systems.”
The study is being funded by GSK. This will lower the expenditure on respiratory medication for the Salford Primary Care Trust.
Mr Haydock said: “It is hoped that extra resources will be freed towards the overall health economy of Salford."