The work of our fantastic team includes both pre-clinical research and clinical trials to develop a comprehensive body of knowledge in interstitial lung diseases, including pulmonary fibrosis, and lung infection, including bronchiectasis, and COVID-19.
A clinical study involves research using human volunteer participants that is intended to add to medical knowledge. All clinical trials of new drugs, vaccines, devices, or methods need to go through a series of phases to test whether they’re safe and whether they work.
Before clinical trials are undertaken for a potential drug, vaccine, medical device, or diagnostic assay, the product is tested extensively in pre-clinical studies. Such studies are lab-based, sometimes known as experimental research, and involve in vitro (test tube or cell culture) and in vivo (animals).
The investigator observes participants without manipulation or intervention. This is in contrast to randomised controlled trials (RCT) which are sometimes inappropriate where investigators do intervene and look at the effects of the intervention. Observational studies can also help inform probable cause and effect associations before randomised data are available, as RCTs often take years to complete.
Phase I studies are the first step in testing a new treatment in humans. They test the safety of the drug on a small number of healthy volunteers.
Our phase II studies test the treatment on a larger group of people who have interstitial lung disease or lung infection to see if it is well tolerated and safe and to see if there are early indicators that it might help the participants with these conditions.
Larger Group Testing
The next step is to carry out longer testing of the treatment in much larger groups of people (sometimes thousands) with the specific condition, compared against an existing treatment or a placebo to see which works better, while still checking side effects.
Once the drug has passed all the phases of clinical trials, surveillance continues on the drug while it's being used in practice.
Research at UCL Respiratory is supported by Breathing Matters.
Some of these research studies are commercial (ie. funded by a pharmaceutical company), but not all of them. Non-commercial research programmes do require financial resources in order to pay for the various laboratory tests necessary – we hope that, by using relatively small amounts of money to fund initial research, we will obtain the background data needed to successfully apply for large grants to fully answer some of the important questions about how best to treat patients and find cures.
If you would like to help us with our research, please donate.Donate