What is happening with clinical trials in the UK as we slowly emerge from COVID-19, and how can you continue to support clinical research into new treatment options?

The last year has seen intense focus on the development of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, along with respiratory clinicians continuing to be on the frontline of treating patients with COVID.  Consequently, research into Alpha-1 and many other diseases has largely been on hold.  As significant progress has been made in the UK and globally with COVID-19 vaccination programmes and with Lockdown continuing to ease, it is good to hear that clinical trials are finally getting up and running again.

Mereo continues to enrol their ongoing Phase 2 ASTRAEUS trial.  This trial explores whether a new oral treatment is a promising potential effective and safe future therapy for Alpha-1.  The trial is well underway and the focus now is to complete the trial, which means that – if it is successful – the next step that Mereo plans is to conduct a Phase 3 trial to support potential regulatory approval of this novel oral therapy for the treatment of Alpha-1.

The ASTRAEUS trial, like so many other things for all of us, has been delayed because of the COVID pandemic.  But now, with the vaccine programme well underway, clinical trial sites here in the UK will soon be able to start screening potential study participants again.  This is great news because getting this trial done will allow Mereo – hopefully by the end of the year if enough people join – to have the necessary data to understand if this possible option of a new treatment can be progressed to a pivotal study and might become available to us in due course. 

As you will be aware, the UK has historically been in the forefront of research into potential new therapies for Alpha-1.  Mereo’s ASTRAEUS trial is no exception:  the UK has the highest number of participating sites and the largest number of Alphas volunteering to join this trial in any country globally.  We would like to extend a huge thank-you to everyone who has already participated.  The effort and commitment of every single Alpha that has already joined ASTRAEUS and those who will hopefully join in the future to help Mereo complete the study is hugely appreciated and adds to the collective knowledge that is so important to develop new treatment options.

We strongly encourage you to consider participation in the ASTRAEUS trial.  You can find out more at the following websites Astraeus Study Portal and on ClinicalTrials.gov.

We would like to sincerely thank all Alphas who continue to come together to help ensure that the UK continues to be a world leader in scientific research and discovery.

While a cure for Alpha-1 would, of course, be the ultimate goal for all of us, these technologies are still a way in the future.  In the meantime, we need to focus our attention on the other, more tangible possible therapeutic options.  ASTRAEUS is a relatively short trial and it is ‘almost there’.  Supporting it will hopefully provide a treatment option in the near term for the Alphas of today and tomorrow, so that we are ready for when the next wave of hopefully new, future curative options could be a reality for all of us.