Trust recruits first UK patients to international kidney studies

The renal research team at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have recruited the first UK patients to two international kidney trials. 

The ELIXIR trial, which is led at the Trust by consultant nephrologist, Dr Richard Corbett, is looking at how to improve dialysis for patients with kidney failure by reducing side effects caused by the fluid used in treatment. The first patient in the UK to enter the trial was recruited at Hammersmith hospital in July.

Commenting on the achievement, Lead research nurse for renal, Dorota Banach said: “I’m really pleased that, through significant collective effort of my team, we have been able to recruit the first UK patients for these two trials. We look after many patients with kidney failure and we know the impact the side effects can have on their lives.”

Peritoneal dialysis is a widely used form of dialysis used to treat people with kidney failure.  It is usually managed at home instead of in hospital and so is a common choice for patients who wish to manage their treatment themselves or who travel frequently.

The treatment uses the inside lining of the abdomen as a filter. A fluid is put into the abdomen and left there for several hours to remove excess fluids and toxins from the body. Most widely used peritoneal dialysis fluids are sugar-based (glucose) which can cause long-term complications such as weight gain and rise in blood sugar levels. The ELIXIR study is investigating whether another type of fluid can be used that lowers the patient’s exposure to glucose and reduces the impact of these side effects. 

Commenting on the study, Dr Corbett said: “Peritoneal dialysis provides a more flexible option for people requiring dialysis and it is vital that we continue to look at ways to improve the treatment of people living with kidney disease, so that they can continue to receive their treatment at home. This is an important trial as there have been no new studies in peritoneal fluids for over a decade and it is vital that patients in North West London are able to join high-quality research studies.”

The second trial, known as GOOD-IDES and led at the Trust by consultant nephrologist, Dr Stephen McAdoo, is investigating treatments for a very rare autoimmune disease known as Goodpasture’s syndrome. Patients experience fatigue, weakness and loss of appetite as a result of the body making harmful antibodies which damage the lining of the lungs and kidneys. These common initial symptoms can progress very quickly, rapidly leading to kidney failure or lung bleeding.  

The GOOD-IDES study will investigate the use of a new medication to rapidly digest these antibodies, hopefully avoiding the complications of the later stages of the disease. 

The first UK patient to be recruited to this trial was also recruited by the renal research team at Hammersmith hospital earlier in September. 

Commenting on the recruitment of the first patient, Dr McAdoo said: “Goodpasture’s syndrome is an incredibly rare disease that is often diagnosed very late. Recruiting patients on to a trial for such a rare disease must be precisely timed and I am pleased that we have been able to both contribute to this important work and also provide patients with a cutting edge treatment option under our expert care.” 

Dorota Banach continued: “Goodpasture’s syndrome is a very rare disease but it can be very serious for patients. I am pleased that our teams have been able to recruit a patient from the UK and that we can contribute to advancing our understanding and developing treatments for this condition.”  

Clinical trials at Imperial College Healthcare are supported by funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Imperial Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), a translational research partnership between Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College London, which was awarded £95m in 2022 to continue developing new experimental treatments and diagnostics for patients.