May 20th is International Clinical Trials Day which commemorates the day James Lind began his famous clinical trial on scurvy in 1747 (James Lind library website). Lind laid the groundwork for modern-day clinical research, providing a day for the world to acknowledge the achievements that result from clinical trials.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials are research investigations in which people voluntarily participate in studies for new treatments and interventions to prevent, diagnose or manage health conditions or diseases. All new drugs or medical interventions that are currently used go through clinical trial testing. They are crucial for the development of new medical treatments and help determine if new medicines are effective, safe and/or better than the current treatments available. Testing new drugs in a laboratory setting provides limited information, therefore, without patient participation, innovative and ground-breaking therapies would not be possible.

Perth Blood Institute’s (PBI) clinical trials

PBI began conducting clinical trials in 2016 with participants from all around Western Australia.

  • 32 clinical trials currently being conducted.
  • Approximately 48 participants presently on trials.
  • Current age of participants ranges from 46 to 86 years.

Clinical trials conducted at PBI focus on all types of blood disorders and malignancies. Including but not limited to:

  • Multiple myeloma
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Myelofibrosis
  • Venous thromboembolism

“Clinical trials are an essential tool in modern medicine. By participating in clinical research, you can help to forward progress and provide valuable insight into new treatments and interventions to prevent, diagnose or manage blood disorders.” Prof. Ross Baker (PBI Founding Director)

PBI clinical trials and COVID-19

The COVAXI-2 trial utilised a combination of 2 therapy drugs which aimed to prevent COVID-19 infection. However, with the advent of new COVID-19 variants PBI are starting a new trial with AstraZeneca - SUPERNOVA trial. This trial could be instrumental in helping immunocompromised patients to manage the effects of COVID-19 and provide lasting protection against infection.

Participating in a clinical trial

PBI is continually inviting support to conduct research in all aspects of blood disorder management, and to broaden access to safe and effective treatment options for patients and their families. For example, PBI currently has three clinical trials focusing on myelofibrosis. The aim of each trial is to assess the safety, tolerability and/or efficacy of different drugs and treatment options as the symptoms associated with myelofibrosis can vary with each person. To read more about these trials please visit our website, PBI Clinical Trials.

In 2021, Andrew was diagnosed with myelofibrosis by his haematologist and one of PBI’s clinical investigator Dr Maan Alwan. As the only known cure for myelofibrosis is stem cell transplant, treatment of the symptoms is critical for long-term management of the condition.

“In most patients with myelofibrosis, the condition is not curable, and the best available standard of care treatment provides disease control for a period of time. There’s a need for better options to improve survival and management of symptoms for the long term.” Dr. Alwan

Dr Alwan suggested Andrew might benefit from a clinical trial for patients with rare blood disorders. After just over 12 months being on the trial, Andrew has shown positive blood test results. Click HERE to read more about Andrew's story.

Adrian was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and in 2019 joined a global clinical trial with PBI. He also worked with Dr Alwan on a clinical trial to evaluate the impact of the drug therapy to improve the quality of life of patients with CLL. To read about Adrian’s journey, please click HERE.