Blood tests to measure the levels of antibodies to specific Crohn’s related drugs in the blood

Blood testProject: Blood tests to measure the levels of adalimumab and infliximab and antibodies to these drugs in the blood for Crohn’s patients

Year: 2013 – IN PROGRESS. See Sept 2014 update below

Researcher: Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital

Background: Adalimumab and infliximab are highly effective drugs used to treat Crohn’s Disease. There are two major problems with them. First, they are expensive and second, approximately 15% of people lose response to them each year. Unfortunately, identifying those people who are going to lose response and knowing what the most effective strategy is to deal with loss of response is difficult. Blood tests measuring the levels of the drug and antibodies to the drug in the blood have recently become available in Europe and the USA but have not been available in the UK.

Aims: Guy’s and St Thomas’ will research what the role of using these tests is in people losing response to Adalimumab or Infliximab and hope that this will lead on to further research investigating whether they can identify people who are not going to respond to this class of drugs or who are likely to lose response in the near future.
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Anticipated Outcome: This research will enable a greater understanding as to the best way to act when people are losing response to Adalimumab or Infliximab thereby avoiding continued exposure to a drug which is not working (which exposes people unnecessary risk and is expensive). In addition in may help to recapture response to a drug which we may otherwise have been abandoned.

Latest Update – September 2014:
Adalimumab and infliximab are highly effective drugs used to treat Crohn’s disease. There are two major problems with them. First, they are expensive and second, approximately 15% of people lose response to them each year. Unfortunately, identifying those people who are going to lose response and knowing what the most effective strategy is to deal with loss of response is difficult. Blood tests measuring the levels of the drug and antibodies to the drug in the blood have recently become available in Europe and the USA but have not been available in the UK. At Guy’s and St Thomas’ we were the first UK centre to be able to perform these tests. With the help of a grant from ForCrohn’s we have evaluated the role of these antibodies in patients with Crohn’s disease. As more kits have become available, we have also been able to compare the different kits. We have collected samples from over 200 patients and are currently analysing the results which should be fully available within the next 6 months. The information produced by this research will allow us to use these expensive drugs more safely and effectively and will also help us to use them in a cost-effective manner.

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To apply for a research grant please contact us at [email protected].