Two Walsall patients are taking part in a global trial that focuses on a new treatment for those who suffer from a condition caused by high cholesterol.
Hypercholesterolemia can be caused by a gene inherited from a parent and it means that some people have high cholesterol from birth which can lead to the early development of heart problems.
Through Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, two patients have been recruited to a commercial phase II study looking at a new treatment for hypercholesterolemia. The medication being used is a novel capsule called MK0616 which is a new cholesterol-lowering medication in a class of drug called PCSK9 inhibitors. It is the first oral version as all current medications in this class are injections.
Consultant Cardiologist Dr Rumi Jaumdally and Consultant Chemical Pathologist Dr Andrew Hartland are working on the study with Clinical Research Practitioner Ben Jones.
Dr Jaumdally said: “Our first Walsall patient was the fourth in the UK to agree to this trial and we are the third highest recruiter in the UK.
“This medication was trialled in 2021 in 40 patients and it was found to lower participants’ cholesterol by 65% after 14 days of treatment. The study is a global trial being run by Merck Sharpe Dohme (MSD), one of the top five global biopharmaceutical companies. Participants have joined from the USA, UK, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Norway and Korea and it aims to recruit 375 patients who will take the medication for eight weeks.
“There is no cure for hypercholesterolemia so any progress we can make through treatment which will help reduce the very serious risk of heart problems will be life-changing for sufferers. We are so proud that two Walsall patients are among those who are prepared to play their part in research to help future generations.”
Ben added that support within Walsall Healthcare and Black Country Pathology Services had been vital.
“Our team in the pathology labs, especially Clare Holdcroft and Shirley Norton, along with colleagues in pharmacy and the cardiac intervention suite have ensured we’re able to offer this new treatment through a trial to Walsall patients,” he said.
Clinical trials supported by the pharmaceutical industry play an important part in keeping the NHS at the forefront of modern treatments and research. In addition, commercial research activity offers clinicians early access to the latest technologies for diagnosing and treating disease and is essential for the development of new medicines and healthcare technologies.