Researchers at the University of Warwick have been given £1.8 million to trial a treatment for a condition which affects one in 10 patients admitted to intensive care.
Warwick Medical School’s Clinical Trials Unit has received funding from the Medical Research Council to run a randomised controlled trial of Salbutamol, commercially known as Ventolin, to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
ARDS is a common cause of respiratory failure in critically ill patients and half the people that develop ARDS die, giving rise to an annual death toll similar in magnitude to the number of deaths from breast cancer or AIDS. Patients who survive ARDS suffer a significant reduction in health-related quality of life.
The trial, known as BALTI 2 (Beta-agonist lung injury trial 2), will be managed by the Warwick Clinical Trials Unit in conjunction with Birmingham Heartlands Hospital. Head of the Unit Professor Sallie Lamb said: "ARDS has a very high mortality, about 40%, and there are no effective drug therapies at present. Salbutamol has shown some promise in a small trial so we are now testing it in a large-scale study, which will recruit 1334 patients from about 50 intensive care units throughout the UK."
The study is expected to run for five years and is the latest coup for the Clinical Trials Unit. Earlier this year the Unit announced it had been awarded more than £5 million in grants for clinical trials in cancer and emergency care.
Professor Lamb added: "This is an academic unit which is undertaking clinical trials addressing real issues of local, national and international importance. It is anticipated that we could double the existing 30 WMSCTU staff over the next five years. There is a real need for good evidence which is provided by running national multi-centre randomised clinical trials."
For further information please contact: