Patients at Galway University Hospitals have been taking part a landmark trial that could mean a huge breakthrough in cystic fibrosis care.
The trial has involved a new triple combination drug from Vertex pharmaceuticals, tezacaftor and ivacaftor -plus an experimental one, known as VX-659.
The drug was tested on cystic fibrosis patients with the gene mutation delta 508, which is present in at least 90% of Irish CF patients.
Cystic fibrosis patients were randomly assigned to either the triple drug regime or to a comparison group.
After 4 weeks the triple-drug therapy improved lung function by on average up to 13% and patients also reported a very significant improvement in their quality of life.
Dr Michael O’Mahony, Adult CF Physician in Galway University Hospitals was the principal investigator in Galway for the study.
“This study is a hugely significant breakthrough. We are delighted with the results and along with our colleagues in Dublin, Cork and Limerick we were lucky to be one of the small number of centres worldwide that took part in this study,” he said.
“Thanks must go to all the team in the HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway and the hospital for making our participation in these studies possible.”
They are currently in the Phase 3 study looking at the longer term effects of the drug. If its results are as promising as the ones so far it could make a huge difference for patients with CF.
General Manager of Galway University Hospitals Chris Kane said taking part in drugs trials is an essential part of uncovering new treatments.
“We are very fortunate to have the HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway on the hospital campus,” he added.
“Which provides the ideal setting for our doctors to work with patients in a research setting with facilities to support bioscience research.”
“This latest CF drug trial is hugely significant as Galway was chosen as one of only 20 sites worldwide to take part in the study.”
“By leading out on research we can improve the outcomes and quality of life for our patients.”