Worldwide clinical trials UK Jobs

By Neil Bowdler | Health reporter, BBC News

A London hospital is leading a worldwide trial of a drug designed to aid the recovery of patients with heavy blood loss.

MP4OX is made from expired blood stocks and seeks to replicate the function of red blood cells in carrying oxygen around the body.

It is being given to patients with heavy blood loss in 56 centres around the world.

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The initial trial seemed to show that people got out of hospital much quicker than patients who hadn’t had the drug”

Prof Karm BrohiThe Royal London Hospital

MP4OX has been developed by US pharmaceutical company Sangart, which is funding the trial, and is a haemoglobin-based product processed from expired blood transfusion stocks.

Haemoglobin molecules are the proteins in red blood cells which carry oxygen to muscles and tissue around the body.

In trauma patients who have undergone heavy blood loss, these molecules are in short supply, and its makers claim MP4OX can deliver an oxygen boost to organs and tissue in the body, reducing the risk of organ failure.

They say it carries no infection risk and can be given safely to all patients.

Prof Karim Brohi, of the Barts and The Royal London Hospital, is leading the trials.

“We’re giving it to people who been severely injured in car crashes, have fallen out of a window, been stabbed etc, ” he told BBC News.

“Basically it’s a drug which takes up oxygen and delivers it to cells which are starved of oxygen because there’s not enough blood going around the body.”

The drug has already been tested in a pilot trial of 50 patients, which appeared to show the drug was safe.

That pilot has now been extended to a worldwide trial encompassing some 360 patients, to further test its safety and efficacy. That trial is now approaching completion although the researchers have yet to process any of the results.

“In the initial trial, it seemed to show that people got out of hospital much quicker than patients who hadn’t had the drug, ” he said.

“It was a small trial with lots of room for error, but there was a pretty strong signal that there were a lot more patients who were alive and out of hospital at 28 days compared to the ones who hadn’t had the drug.”

However, he stressed that it was only after results from the extended “Phase 2b” trial were in, that they would know how much promise the drug showed.

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