New clinical trials target bowel disease - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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New clinical trials target bowel disease

18 Sep 2017

The USC Clinical Trials Centre has partnered with specialists from Coastal Digestive Health at Maroochydore to conduct research into investigational medications for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

The first trials are now underway to research the safety and efficacy of two medications administered by a tablet or an injection.

USC Clinical Trials Centre Director Lucas Litewka said the partnership would provide ongoing opportunities for Sunshine Coast people with certain digestive disorders to join global research efforts without leaving the region.

“We are fostering this research environment with leading doctors to test some of the latest investigational medicines for these types of disorders,” Mr Litewka said.

Principal investigator Dr Hans Seltenreich, of Coastal Digestive Health, said three international randomised controlled trials were operating from the Maroochydore practice, involving patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

IBD is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and damage to the lining of the digestive tract, a condition which affects more than 75,000 Australians. Common symptoms are diarrhoea, abdominal pain, cramping, tiredness and weight loss.

Dr Seltenreich, a gastroenterologist who moved to the Sunshine Coast from Switzerland 10 years ago, will work with practice colleagues Dr Sue Thackwray (co-investigator), IBD nurse practitioner Stephanie Buckton and research coordinator Sharon Kayrooz. The USC Clinical Trials Centre research specialist will be Sheona Page.

“Some of our patients have complex diseases for which current medications are not working. They may benefit from our involvement with the USC Clinical Trials Centre,” Dr Seltenreich said.

“Overall, this collaboration will enable patients to participate in global research while also raising the profile of the Sunshine Coast.

“The future goal of Coastal Digestive Health is to extend this research portfolio by offering clinical trials in areas such as fatty liver disease, irritable bowel syndrome, eosinophilic esophagitis, interventional endoscopy and capsule endoscopy.”

People interested in participating can go to the USC Clinical Trials Centre.

Julie Schomberg

Lucas Litewka and Dr Hans Seltenreich

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