Drug trial offers hope for Crohn’s patients

A young man sits in a treatment chair with three women and a man surrounding him.
L – R: Dr Lena Thin (IBD Research Lead & Consultant Gastroenterologist), Tanya (Day Medical Procedure Unit Registered Nurse), Karen Martin (IBD Research Nurse), Daniel Lightowler (IBD Research Nurse) with clinical trial patient Abel Abraham seated centre.
November 11, 2020

Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) is the first hospital in Australia to recruit a patient for a clinical trial of a new drug to manage Crohn’s Disease.

Run by the FSH Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Research Unit, the VIVID-1 study explores the effects of the drug, Mirikizumab, and its ability to inhibit an inflammatory pathway which causes inflammation in Crohn’s Disease known as Interleukin 23.

IBD Research Lead, Doctor Lena Thin, said by inhibiting Interleukin 23 with the new drug, the aim was to improve inflammation and patient disease outcomes.

“It’s a very exciting milestone for our dedicated research team as we’re the first in Australia to use Mirikizumab in a clinical trial for Crohn’s disease,” Dr Thin said.

“In Australia, IBD is becoming more prevalent, more complex, and more severe so by taking part in this ground breaking study we’re offering those who live with these debilitating conditions hope.”

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the predominant IBD conditions, are chronic and lifelong diseases that affect approximately 1 in 250 people aged 5 to 40.

Almost 75,000 Australians have IBD with this number projected to increase to 100,000 by 2022.

Australia has one of the highest rates of prevalence and incidence in the world and each year more people are burdened with a constant and often hidden struggle that affects a sufferer’s personal, social and work life.

FSH Clinical Nurse Daniel Lightowler said trial therapies offer these patients a broader range of treatment options.

“It is studies like VIVID-1 that allow health professionals to provide tailored and cutting edge care for IBD patients,” he said.

“Our research unit is involved in several of the latest clinical trials, using many novel agents to treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, receiving referrals from across the state to consider patients who are on last line therapies.”

The first patient was recruited in June and the study is expected to run for the next three years.

Read more about research conducted across South Metropolitan Health Service in its 2019 Research Report (external PDF 4.1MB).

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