Publications by authors named "Darren Barton"

17 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Introduction of the Concept of Diagnostic Sensitivity and Specificity of Normothermic Perfusion Protocols to Assess High-Risk Donor Livers.

Liver Transpl 2022 May 9;28(5):794-806. Epub 2021 Nov 9.

Liver Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Normothermic machine perfusion (NMP) allows objective assessment of donor liver transplantability. Several viability evaluation protocols have been established, consisting of parameters such as perfusate lactate clearance, pH, transaminase levels, and the production and composition of bile. The aims of this study were to assess 3 such protocols, namely, those introduced by the teams from Birmingham (BP), Cambridge (CP), and Groningen (GP), using a cohort of high-risk marginal livers that had initially been deemed unsuitable for transplantation and to introduce the concept of the viability assessment sensitivity and specificity. To demonstrate and quantify the diagnostic accuracy of these protocols, we used a composite outcome of organ use and 24-month graft survival as a surrogate endpoint. The effects of assessment modifications, including the removal of the most stringent components of the protocols, were also assessed. Of the 31 organs, 22 were transplanted after a period of NMP, of which 18 achieved the outcome of 24-month graft survival. The BP yielded 94% sensitivity and 50% specificity when predicting this outcome. The GP and CP both seemed overly conservative, with 1 and 0 organs, respectively, meeting these protocols. Modification of the GP and CP to exclude their most stringent components increased this to 11 and 8 organs, respectively, and resulted in moderate sensitivity (56% and 44%) but high specificity (92% and 100%, respectively) with respect to the composite outcome. This study shows that the normothermic assessment protocols can be useful in identifying potentially viable organs but that the balance of risk of underuse and overuse varies by protocol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lt.26326DOI Listing
May 2022

A prospective, phase II, single-centre, cross-sectional, randomised study investigating Dehydroepiandrosterone supplementation and its Profile in Trauma: ADaPT.

BMJ Open 2021 07 26;11(7):e040823. Epub 2021 Jul 26.

NIHR Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Introduction: The improvements in short-term outcome after severe trauma achieved through early resuscitation and acute care can be offset over the following weeks by an acute systemic inflammatory response with immuneparesis leading to infection, multiorgan dysfunction/multiorgan failure (MOF) and death. Serum levels of the androgen precursor dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate ester DHEAS, steroids with immune-enhancing activity, are low after traumatic injury at a time when patients are catabolic and immunosuppressed. Addressing this deficit and restoring the DHEA(S) ratio to cortisol may provide a range of physiological benefits, including immune modulatory effects.

Objective: Our primary objective is to establish a dose suitable for DHEA supplementation in patients after acute trauma to raise circulating DHEA levels to at least 15 nmol/L. Secondary objectives are to assess if DHEA supplementation has any effect on neutrophil function, metabolic and cytokine profiles and which route of administration (oral vs sublingual) is more effective in restoring circulating levels of DHEA, DHEAS and downstream androgens.

Methods And Analysis: A prospective, phase II, single-centre, cross-sectional, randomised study investigating Dehydroepiandrosterone supplementation and its profile in trauma, with a planned recruitment between April 2019 and July 2021, that will investigate DHEA supplementation and its effect on serum DHEA, DHEAS and downstream androgens in trauma. A maximum of 270 patients will receive sublingual or oral DHEA at 50, 100 or 200 mg daily over 3 days. Females aged ≥50 years with neck of femur fracture and male and female major trauma patients, aged 16-50 years with an injury severity score ≥16, will be recruited.

Ethics And Dissemination: This protocol was approved by the West Midlands - Coventry and Warwickshire Research Ethics Committee (Reference 18/WM/0102) on 8 June 2018. Results will be disseminated via peer-reviewed publications and presented at national and international conferences.

Trial Registration: This trial is registered with the European Medicines Agency (EudraCT: 2016-004250-15) and ISRCTN (12961998). It has also been adopted on the National Institute of Health Research portfolio (CPMS ID:38158).

Trial Progression: The study recruited its first patient on 2 April 2019 and held its first data monitoring committee on 8 November 2019. DHEA dosing has increased to 100 mg in both male cohorts and remains on 50 mg in across all female groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-040823DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8314713PMC
July 2021

Transplantation of discarded livers following viability testing with normothermic machine perfusion.

Nat Commun 2020 06 16;11(1):2939. Epub 2020 Jun 16.

Liver Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT), Birmingham, UK.

There is a limited access to liver transplantation, however, many organs are discarded based on subjective assessment only. Here we report the VITTAL clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT02740608) outcomes, using normothermic machine perfusion (NMP) to objectively assess livers discarded by all UK centres meeting specific high-risk criteria. Thirty-one livers were enroled and assessed by viability criteria based on the lactate clearance to levels ≤2.5 mmol/L within 4 h. The viability was achieved by 22 (71%) organs, that were transplanted after a median preservation time of 18 h, with 100% 90-day survival. During the median follow up of 542 days, 4 (18%) patients developed biliary strictures requiring re-transplantation. This trial demonstrates that viability testing with NMP is feasible and in this study enabled successful transplantation of 71% of discarded livers, with 100% 90-day patient and graft survival; it does not seem to prevent non-anastomotic biliary strictures in livers donated after circulatory death with prolonged warm ischaemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16251-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7298000PMC
June 2020

Liver homing of clinical grade Tregs after therapeutic infusion in patients with autoimmune hepatitis.

JHEP Rep 2019 Oct 21;1(4):286-296. Epub 2019 Aug 21.

Centre for Liver and Gastroenterology Research, Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy, University of Birmingham.

Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is an immune-mediated disease with no curative treatment. Regulatory T cell (Treg) therapy is potentially curative in AIH given the critical role of Tregs in preventing autoimmunity. To work effectively, adoptively transferred Tregs must migrate to and survive within the inflamed liver. We conducted a proof-of-concept study aiming to assess the safety and liver-homing properties of good manufacturing practice (GMP)-grade autologous Tregs in patients with AIH.

Methods: Autologous polyclonal GMP-grade Tregs were isolated using leukapheresis and CliniMACS, labelled with indium tropolonate and re-infused intravenously to 4 patients with AIH. GMP-Treg homing to the liver was investigated with longitudinal gamma camera and SPECT-CT scanning. GMP-Treg immunophenotype, function and immunometabolic state were assessed during the study.

Results: We observed that the isolated Tregs were suppressive and expressed CXCR3, a chemokine receptor involved in recruitment into the inflamed liver, as well as Treg functional markers CD39, CTLA-4 and the transcription factor Foxp3. Serial gamma camera and SPECT-CT imaging demonstrated that 22-44% of infused Tregs homed to and were retained in the livers of patients with autoimmune hepatitis for up to 72 h. The infused cells did not localise to any off-target organs other than the spleen and bone marrow. GMP-Tregs were metabolically competent and there were no infusion reactions or high-grade adverse effects after Treg infusion.

Conclusion: Our novel findings suggest that the liver is a good target organ for Treg cellular therapy, supporting the development of clinical trials to test efficacy in autoimmune hepatitis and other autoimmune liver diseases.

Lay Summary: Autoimmune liver diseases occur when the body's immune cells target their own liver cells. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) prevent autoimmunity, thus they are a potential therapy for autoimmune liver diseases. In patients with autoimmune hepatitis, Treg infusion is safe, with nearly a quarter of infused Tregs homing to the liver and suppressing tissue-damaging effector T cells. Thus, Tregs are a potentially curative immune cell therapy for early autoimmune liver diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhepr.2019.08.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7001578PMC
October 2019

Viability testing and transplantation of marginal livers (VITTAL) using normothermic machine perfusion: study protocol for an open-label, non-randomised, prospective, single-arm trial.

BMJ Open 2017 Nov 28;7(11):e017733. Epub 2017 Nov 28.

Department of Liver Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK.

Introduction: The use of marginal or extended criteria donor livers is increasing. These organs carry a greater risk of initial dysfunction and early failure, as well as inferior long-term outcomes. As such, many are rejected due to a perceived risk of use and use varies widely between centres. Ex situ normothermic machine perfusion of the liver (NMP-L) may enable the safe transplantation of organs that meet defined objective criteria denoting their high-risk status and are currently being declined for use by all the UK transplant centres.

Methods And Analysis: Viability testing and transplantation of marginal livers is an open-label, non-randomised, prospective, single-arm trial designed to determine whether currently unused donor livers can be salvaged and safely transplanted with equivalent outcomes in terms of patient survival. The procured rejected livers must meet predefined criteria that objectively denote their marginal condition. The liver is subjected to NMP-L following a period of static cold storage. Organs metabolising lactate to ≤2.5 mmol/L within 4 hours of the perfusion commencing in combination with two or more of the following parameters-bile production, metabolism of glucose, a hepatic arterial flow rate ≥150 mL/min and a portal venous flow rate ≥500 mL/min, a pH ≥7.30 and/or maintain a homogeneous perfusion-will be considered viable and transplanted into a suitable consented recipient. The coprimary outcome measures are the success rate of NMP-L to produce a transplantable organ and 90-day patient post-transplant survival.

Ethics And Dissemination: The protocol was approved by the National Research Ethics Service (London-Dulwich Research Ethics Committee, 16/LO/1056), the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and is endorsed by the National Health Service Blood and Transplant Research, Innovation and Novel Technologies Advisory Group. The findings of this trial will be disseminated through national and international presentations and peer-reviewed publications.

Trial Registration Number: NCT02740608; Pre-results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017733DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5719273PMC
November 2017

Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and autologous CD133-positive stem-cell therapy in liver cirrhosis (REALISTIC): an open-label, randomised, controlled phase 2 trial.

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018 01 7;3(1):25-36. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Background: Results of small-scale studies have suggested that stem-cell therapy is safe and effective in patients with liver cirrhosis, but no adequately powered randomised controlled trials have been done. We assessed the safety and efficacy of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and haemopoietic stem-cell infusions in patients with liver cirrhosis.

Methods: This multicentre, open-label, randomised, controlled phase 2 trial was done in three UK hospitals and recruited patients with compensated liver cirrhosis and MELD scores of 11·0-15·5. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1:1) to receive standard care (control), treatment with subcutaneous G-CSF (lenograstim) 15 μg/kg for 5 days, or treatment with G-CSF for 5 days followed by leukapheresis and intravenous infusion of three doses of CD133-positive haemopoietic stem cells (0·2 × 10 cells per kg per infusion). Randomisation was done by Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit staff with a minimisation algorithm that stratified by trial site and cause of liver disease. The coprimary outcomes were improvement in severity of liver disease (change in MELD) at 3 months and the trend of change in MELD score over time. Analyses were done in the modified intention-to-treat population, which included all patients who received at least one day of treatment. Safety was assessed on the basis of the treatment received. This trial was registered at Current Controlled Trials on Nov 18, 2009; ISRCTN, number 91288089; and the European Clinical Trials Database, number 2009-010335-41.

Findings: Between May 18, 2010, and Feb 26, 2015, 27 patients were randomly assigned to the standard care, 26 to the G-CSF group, and 28 to the G-CSF plus stem-cell infusion group. Median change in MELD from day 0 to 90 was -0·5 (IQR -1·5 to 1·1) in the standard care group, -0·5 (-1·7 to 0·5) in the G-CSF group, and -0·5 (-1·3 to 1·0) in the G-CSF plus stem-cell infusion group. We found no evidence of differences between the treatment groups and control group in the trends of MELD change over time (p=0·55 for the G-CSF group vs standard care and p=0·75 for the G-CSF plus stem-cell infusion group vs standard care). Serious adverse events were more frequent the in G-CSF and stem-cell infusion group (12 [43%] patients) than in the G-CSF (three [11%] patients) and standard care (three [12%] patients) groups. The most common serious adverse events were ascites (two patients in the G-CSF group and two patients in the G-CSF plus stem-cell infusion group, one of whom was admitted to hospital with ascites twice), sepsis (four patients in the G-CSF plus stem-cell infusion group), and encephalopathy (three patients in the G-CSF plus stem-cell infusion group, one of whom was admitted to hospital with encephalopathy twice). Three patients died, including one in the standard care group (variceal bleed) and two in the G-CSF and stem-cell infusion group (one myocardial infarction and one progressive liver disease).

Interpretation: G-CSF with or without haemopoietic stem-cell infusion did not improve liver dysfunction or fibrosis and might be associated with increased frequency of adverse events compared with standard care.

Funding: National Institute of Health Research, The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(17)30326-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5738975PMC
January 2018

Investigating the safety and activity of the use of BTT1023 (Timolumab), in the treatment of patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (BUTEO): A single-arm, two-stage, open-label, multi-centre, phase II clinical trial protocol.

BMJ Open 2017 07 3;7(6):e015081. Epub 2017 Jul 3.

Centre for Rare Diseases, Institute of Translational Medicine, Birmingham Health Partners, University Hospitals Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Introduction: Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a progressive inflammatory liver disease characterised by relentless liver fibrosis and a high unmet need for new therapies. Preventing fibrosis represents an important area of interest in the development of vital new drugs. Vascular adhesion protein-1 (VAP-1) drives inflammation in liver disease, and provision of an antibody against VAP-1 blunts fibrosis in murine models of liver injury.

Methods And Analysis: BUTEO is a single-arm, two-stage, open-label, multi-centre, phase II clinical trial. Up to 59 patients will receive treatment with anti-VAP monoclonal antibody, BTT1023, over a 78-day treatment period. Adults with PSC and a serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) of at least 1.5 times the upper limit of normal will be included. Our primary outcome measure is a reduction in ALP by >25% from baseline to Day 99. Secondary outcome measures include safety and tolerability, changes pre therapy/post therapy in circulating serum VAP-1 as well as imaging findings. The first patient participant was recruited on 08 September 2015.

Ethics And Dissemination: This protocol has been approved by the Research Ethics Committee (REC, reference 14/EM/1272). The first REC approval date was 06 January 2015 with three subsequent approved amendments. This article refers to protocol V3.0, dated 16 March 2016. Results will be disseminated via peer-reviewed publication and presentation at international conferences.

Trial Registration: The trial is registered with the European Medicines agency (EudraCT: 2014-002393-37), the National Institute for Health Research (Portfolio ID: 18051) and ISRCTN: 11233255. The clinicaltrials.gov identifier is NCT02239211. Pre-results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015081DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5734279PMC
July 2017

Gene expression profiling in bladder cancer identifies potential therapeutic targets.

Int J Oncol 2017 Apr 2;50(4):1147-1159. Epub 2017 Mar 2.

School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.

Despite advances in management, bladder cancer remains a major cause of cancer related complications. Characterisation of gene expression patterns in bladder cancer allows the identification of pathways involved in its pathogenesis, and may stimulate the development of novel therapies targeting these pathways. Between 2004 and 2005, cystoscopic bladder biopsies were obtained from 19 patients and 11 controls. These were subjected to whole transcript-based microarray analysis. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering was used to identify samples with similar expression profiles. Hypergeometric analysis was used to identify canonical pathways and curated networks having statistically significant enrichment of differentially expressed genes. Osteopontin (OPN) expression was validated by immunohistochemistry. Hierarchical clustering defined signatures, which differentiated between cancer and healthy tissue, muscle-invasive or non-muscle invasive cancer and healthy tissue, grade 1 and grade 3. Pathways associated with cell cycle and proliferation were markedly upregulated in muscle-invasive and grade 3 cancers. Genes associated with the classical complement pathway were downregulated in non-muscle invasive cancer. Osteopontin was markedly overexpressed in invasive cancer compared to healthy tissue. The present study contributes to a growing body of work on gene expression signatures in bladder cancer. The data support an important role for osteopontin in bladder cancer, and identify several pathways worthy of further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ijo.2017.3893DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5363876PMC
April 2017

TRAPEZE: a randomised controlled trial of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of chemotherapy with zoledronic acid, strontium-89, or both, in men with bony metastatic castration-refractory prostate cancer.

Health Technol Assess 2016 07;20(53):1-288

Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Background: Bony metastatic castration-refractory prostate cancer is associated with a poor prognosis and high morbidity. TRAPEZE was a two-by-two factorial randomised controlled trial of zoledronic acid (ZA) and strontium-89 (Sr-89), each combined with docetaxel. All have palliative benefits, are used to control bone symptoms and are used with docetaxel to prolong survival. ZA, approved on the basis of reducing skeletal-related events (SREs), is commonly combined with docetaxel in practice, although evidence of efficacy and cost-effectiveness is lacking. Sr-89, approved for controlling metastatic pain and reducing need for subsequent bone treatments, is generally palliatively used in patients unfit for chemotherapy. Phase II analysis confirmed the safety and feasibility of combining these agents. TRAPEZE aimed to determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of each agent.

Methods: Patients were randomised to receive six cycles of docetaxel plus prednisolone: alone, with ZA, with a single Sr-89 dose after cycle 6, or with both. Primary outcomes were clinical progression-free survival (CPFS: time to pain progression, SRE or death) and cost-effectiveness. Secondary outcomes were SRE-free interval (SREFI), total SREs, overall survival (OS) and quality of life (QoL). Log-rank test and Cox regression modelling were used to determine clinical effectiveness. Cost-effectiveness was assessed from the NHS perspective and expressed as cost per additional quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). An additional analysis was carried out for ZA to reflect the availability of generic ZA.

Results:

Patients: 757 randomised (median age 68.7 years; Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group scale score 0, 40%; 1, 52%; 2, 8%; prior radiotherapy, 45%); median prostate-specific antigen 143.78 ng/ml (interquartile range 50.8-353.9 ng/ml). Stratified log-rank analysis of CPFS was statistically non-significant for either agent (Sr-89, p = 0.11; ZA, p = 0.45). Cox regression analysis adjusted for stratification variables showed CPFS benefit for Sr-89 [hazard ratio (HR) 0.845, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.72 to 0.99; p = 0.036] and confirmed no effect of ZA (p = 0.46). ZA showed a significant SREFI effect (HR 0.76; 95% CI 0.63 to 0.93; p = 0.008). Neither agent affected OS (Sr-89, p = 0.74; ZA, p = 0.91), but both increased total cost (vs. no ZA and no Sr-89, respectively); decreased post-trial therapies partly offset costs [net difference: Sr-89 £1341; proprietary ZA (Zometa(®), East Hanover, NJ, USA) £1319; generic ZA £251]. QoL was maintained in all trial arms; Sr-89 (0.08 additional QALYs) and ZA (0.03 additional QALYs) showed slight improvements. The resulting incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for Sr-89 was £16,590, with £42,047 per QALY for Zometa and £8005 per QALY for generic ZA.

Conclusion: Strontium-89 improved CPFS, but not OS. ZA did not improve CPFS or OS but significantly improved SREFI, mostly post progression, suggesting a role as post-chemotherapy maintenance therapy. QoL was well maintained in all treatment arms, with differing patterns of care resulting from the effects of Sr-89 on time to progression and ZA on SREFI and total SREs. The addition of Sr-89 resulted in additional cost and a small positive increase in QALYs, with an ICER below the £20,000 ceiling per QALY. The additional costs and small positive QALY changes in favour of ZA resulted in ICERs of £42,047 (Zometa) and £8005 for the generic alternative; thus, generic ZA represents a cost-effective option. Additional analyses on the basis of data from the Hospital Episode Statistics data set would allow corroborating the findings of this study. Further research into the use of ZA (and other bone-targeting therapies) with newer prostate cancer therapies would be desirable.

Study Registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN12808747.

Funding: This project was funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 20, No. 53. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3310/hta20530DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4967809PMC
July 2016

Cost-effectiveness of zoledronic acid and strontium-89 as bone protecting treatments in addition to chemotherapy in patients with metastatic castrate-refractory prostate cancer: results from the TRAPEZE trial (ISRCTN 12808747).

BJU Int 2017 04 10;119(4):522-529. Epub 2016 Jul 10.

University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK.

Objective: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of adding zoledronic acid or strontium-89 to standard docetaxel chemotherapy for patients with castrate-refractory prostate cancer (CRPC).

Patients And Methods: Data on resource use and quality of life for 707 patients collected prospectively in the TRAPEZE 2 × 2 factorial randomised trial (ISRCTN 12808747) were used to assess the cost-effectiveness of i) zoledronic acid versus no zoledronic acid (ZA vs. no ZA), and ii) strontium-89 versus no strontium-89 (Sr89 vs. no Sr89). Costs were estimated from the perspective of the National Health Service in the UK and included expenditures for trial treatments, concomitant medications, and use of related hospital and primary care services. Quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) were calculated according to patients' responses to the generic EuroQol EQ-5D-3L instrument, which evaluates health status. Results are expressed as incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves.

Results: The per-patient cost for ZA was £12 667, £251 higher than the equivalent cost in the no ZA group. Patients in the ZA group had on average 0.03 QALYs more than their counterparts in no ZA group. The ICER for this comparison was £8 005. Sr89 was associated with a cost of £13 230, £1365 higher than no Sr89, and a gain of 0.08 QALYs compared to no Sr89. The ICER for Sr89 was £16 884. The probabilities of ZA and Sr89 being cost-effective were 0.64 and 0.60, respectively.

Conclusions: The addition of bone-targeting treatments to standard chemotherapy led to a small improvement in QALYs for a modest increase in cost (or cost-savings). ZA and Sr89 resulted in ICERs below conventional willingness-to-pay per QALY thresholds, suggesting that their addition to chemotherapy may represent a cost-effective use of resources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bju.13549DOI Listing
April 2017

Clinical Outcomes and Survival Following Treatment of Metastatic Castrate-Refractory Prostate Cancer With Docetaxel Alone or With Strontium-89, Zoledronic Acid, or Both: The TRAPEZE Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Oncol 2016 Apr;2(4):493-9

Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England.

Importance: Bony metastatic castrate-refractory prostate cancer (CRPC) has a poor prognosis and high morbidity. Zoledronic acid (ZA) is commonly combined with docetaxel in practice but lacks evidence that combining is effective, and strontium-89 (Sr89) is generally used palliatively in patients unfit for chemotherapy. Phase 2 analysis of the TRAPEZE trial confirmed combining the agents was safe and feasible, and the objectives of phase 3 include assessment of the treatments on survival.

Objective: To determine clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of combining docetaxel, ZA, and Sr89, all having palliative benefits and used in bony metastatic CRPC to control bone symptoms and, for docetaxel, to prolong survival.

Design, Setting, And Participants: The TRAPEZE trial is a 2 × 2 factorial trial comparing docetaxel alone or with ZA, Sr89, or both. A cohort of 757 participants were recruited between February 2005 and February 2012 from hospitals in the United Kingdom. Overall, 169 participants (45%) had received palliative radiotherapy, and the median (IQR) prostate-specific antigen level was 146 (51-354). Follow-ups were performed for at least 12 months.

Interventions: Up to 10 cycles of docetaxel alone; docetaxel with ZA; docetaxel with a single Sr89 dose after 6 cycles; or docetaxel with both ZA and Sr89.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Primary outcomes included clinical progression-free survival (CPFS) (pain progression, skeletal-related events [SREs], or death) and cost-effectiveness. Secondary outcomes included SRE-free interval, pain progression-free interval, total SREs, and overall survival (OS).

Results: Overall, of 757 participants, 349 (46%) completed docetaxel treatment. Median (IQR) age was 68 (63-73) years. Clinical progression-free survival did not reach statistical significance for either Sr89 or ZA. Cox regression analysis adjusted for all stratification variables showed benefit of Sr89 on CPFS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.85; 95% CI, 0.73-0.99; P = .03) and confirmed no effect of ZA (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.85-1.14; P = .81); ZA had a significant effect on SRE-free interval (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.65-0.95; P = .01). For OS, there was no effect of either Sr89 (HR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.79-1.08; P = 0.34) or ZA (HR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.84-1.16; P = 0.91).

Conclusions And Relevance: Strontium-89 combined with docetaxel improved CPFS but did not improve OS, SRE-free interval, or total SREs; ZA did not improve CPFS or OS but did significantly improve median SRE-free interval and reduced total SREs by around one-third, suggesting a role as postchemotherapy maintenance therapy.

Trial Registration: isrctn.com Identifier: ISRCTN12808747.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.5570DOI Listing
April 2016

Liraglutide safety and efficacy in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (LEAN): a multicentre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled phase 2 study.

Lancet 2016 Feb 20;387(10019):679-690. Epub 2015 Nov 20.

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Birmingham Liver Biomedical Research Unit and Centre for Liver Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK; Liver and Hepatobiliary Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham, UK. Electronic address:

Background: Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues reduce hepatic steatosis, concentrations of liver enzymes, and insulin resistance in murine models of fatty liver disease. These analogues are licensed for type 2 diabetes, but their efficacy in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is unknown. We assessed the safety and efficacy of the long-acting GLP-1 analogue, liraglutide, in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

Methods: This multicentre, double-blinded, randomised, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial was conducted in four UK medical centres to assess subcutaneous injections of liraglutide (1·8 mg daily) compared with placebo for patients who are overweight and show clinical evidence of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) using a computer-generated, centrally administered procedure, stratified by trial centre and diabetes status. The trial was designed using A'Hern's single-group method, which required eight (38%) of 21 successes in the liraglutide group for the effect of liraglutide to be considered clinically significant. Patients, investigators, clinical trial site staff, and pathologists were masked to treatment assignment throughout the study. The primary outcome measure was resolution of definite non-alcoholic steatohepatitis with no worsening in fibrosis from baseline to end of treatment (48 weeks), as assessed centrally by two independent pathologists. Analysis was done by intention-to-treat analysis, which included all patients who underwent end-of-treatment biopsy. The trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01237119.

Findings: Between Aug 1, 2010, and May 31, 2013, 26 patients were randomly assigned to receive liraglutide and 26 to placebo. Nine (39%) of 23 patients who received liraglutide and underwent end-of-treatment liver biopsy had resolution of definite non-alcoholic steatohepatitis compared with two (9%) of 22 such patients in the placebo group (relative risk 4·3 [95% CI 1·0-17·7]; p=0·019). Two (9%) of 23 patients in the liraglutide group versus eight (36%) of 22 patients in the placebo group had progression of fibrosis (0·2 [0·1-1·0]; p=0·04). Most adverse events were grade 1 (mild) to grade 2 (moderate) in severity, transient, and similar in the two treatment groups for all organ classes and symptoms, with the exception of gastrointestinal disorders in 21 (81%) of 23 patients in the liraglutide group and 17 (65%) of 22 patients in the placebo group, which included diarrhoea (ten [38%] patients in the liraglutide group vs five [19%] in the placebo group), constipation (seven [27%] vs none), and loss of appetite (eight [31%] vs two [8%]).

Interpretation: Liraglutide was safe, well tolerated, and led to histological resolution of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, warranting extensive, longer-term studies.

Funding: Wellcome Trust, National Institute of Health Research, and Novo Nordisk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00803-XDOI Listing
February 2016

Effect of scavenger receptor class B type I antagonist ITX5061 in patients with hepatitis C virus infection undergoing liver transplantation.

Liver Transpl 2016 Mar;22(3):287-97

National Institute for Health Research Birmingham Liver Biomedical Research Unit.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) entry inhibitors have been hypothesized to prevent infection of the liver after transplantation. ITX5061 is a scavenger receptor class B type I antagonist that blocks HCV entry and infection in vitro. We assessed the safety and efficacy of ITX5061 to limit HCV infection of the graft. The study included 23 HCV-infected patients undergoing liver transplantation. The first 13 "control" patients did not receive drug. The subsequent 10 patients received 150 mg of ITX5061 immediately before and after transplant and daily for 1 week thereafter. ITX5061 pharmacokinetics and plasma HCV RNA were quantified. Viral genetic diversity was measured by ultradeep pyrosequencing (UDPS). ITX5061 was well tolerated with measurable plasma concentrations during therapy. Although the median HCV RNA reduction was greater in ITX-treated patients at all time points in the first week after transplantation, there was no difference in the overall change in the area over the HCV RNA curve in the 7-day treatment period. However, in genotype (GT) 1-infected patients, treatment was associated with a sustained reduction in HCV RNA levels compared to the control group (area over the HCV RNA curve analysis, P = 0.004). UDPS revealed a complex and evolving pattern of HCV variants infecting the graft during the first week. ITX5061 significantly limited viral evolution where the median divergence between day 0 and day 7 was 3.5% in the control group compared to 0.1% in the treated group. In conclusion, ITX5061 reduces plasma HCV RNA after transplant notably in GT 1-infected patients and slows viral evolution. Following liver transplantation, the likely contribution of extrahepatic reservoirs of HCV necessitates combining entry inhibitors such as ITX5061 with inhibitors of replication in future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lt.24349DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4901184PMC
March 2016

Glucagon-like peptide 1 decreases lipotoxicity in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

J Hepatol 2016 Feb 21;64(2):399-408. Epub 2015 Sep 21.

Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, University of Oxford, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, UK. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: Insulin resistance and lipotoxicity are pathognomonic in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues are licensed for type 2 diabetes, but no prospective experimental data exists in NASH. This study determined the effect of a long-acting GLP-1 analogue, liraglutide, on organ-specific insulin sensitivity, hepatic lipid handling and adipose dysfunction in biopsy-proven NASH.

Methods: Fourteen patients were randomised to 1.8mg liraglutide or placebo for 12-weeks of the mechanistic component of a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial (ClinicalTrials.gov-NCT01237119). Patients underwent paired hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamps, stable isotope tracers, adipose microdialysis and serum adipocytokine/metabolic profiling. In vitro isotope experiments on lipid flux were performed on primary human hepatocytes.

Results: Liraglutide reduced BMI (-1.9 vs. +0.04kg/m(2); p<0.001), HbA1c (-0.3 vs. +0.3%; p<0.01), cholesterol-LDL (-0.7 vs. +0.05mmol/L; p<0.01), ALT (-54 vs. -4.0IU/L; p<0.01) and serum leptin, adiponectin, and CCL-2 (all p<0.05). Liraglutide increased hepatic insulin sensitivity (-9.36 vs. -2.54% suppression of hepatic endogenous glucose production with low-dose insulin; p<0.05). Liraglutide increased adipose tissue insulin sensitivity enhancing the ability of insulin to suppress lipolysis both globally (-24.9 vs. +54.8pmol/L insulin required to ½ maximally suppress serum non-esterified fatty acids; p<0.05), and specifically within subcutaneous adipose tissue (p<0.05). In addition, liraglutide decreased hepatic de novo lipogenesis in vivo (-1.26 vs. +1.30%; p<0.05); a finding endorsed by the effect of GLP-1 receptor agonist on primary human hepatocytes (24.6% decrease in lipogenesis vs. untreated controls; p<0.01).

Conclusions: Liraglutide reduces metabolic dysfunction, insulin resistance and lipotoxicity in the key metabolic organs in the pathogenesis of NASH. Liraglutide may offer the potential for a disease-modifying intervention in NASH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2015.08.038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4713865PMC
February 2016

Liraglutide efficacy and action in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (LEAN): study protocol for a phase II multicentre, double-blinded, randomised, controlled trial.

BMJ Open 2013 Nov 4;3(11):e003995. Epub 2013 Nov 4.

NIHR Liver BRU and Centre for Liver Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Introduction: Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is now the commonest cause of chronic liver disease. Despite this, there are no universally accepted pharmacological therapies for NASH. Liraglutide (Victoza), a human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue, has been shown to improve weight loss, glycaemic control and liver enzymes in type 2 diabetes. There is currently a lack of prospective-controlled studies investigating the efficacy of GLP-1 analogues in patients with NASH.

Methods And Analysis: Liraglutide efficacy and action in NASH (LEAN) is a phase II, multicentre, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomised clinical trial designed to investigate whether a 48-week treatment with 1.8 mg liraglutide will result in improvements in liver histology in patients with NASH. Adult, overweight (body mass index ≥25 kg/m(2)) patients with biopsy-confirmed NASH were assessed for eligibility at five recruitment centres in the UK. Patients who satisfied the eligibility criteria were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive once-daily subcutaneous injections of either 1.8 mg liraglutide or liraglutide-placebo (control). Using A'Hern's single stage phase II methodology (significance level 0.05; power 0.90) and accounting for an estimated 20% withdrawal rate, a minimum of 25 patients were randomised to each treatment group. The primary outcome measure will be centrally assessed using an intention-to-treat analysis of the proportion of evaluable patients achieving an improvement in liver histology between liver biopsies at baseline and after 48 weeks of treatment. Histological improvement will be defined as a combination of the disappearance of active NASH and no worsening in fibrosis.

Ethics And Dissemination: The protocol was approved by the National Research Ethics Service (East Midlands-Northampton committee; 10/H0402/32) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Recruitment into the LEAN started in August 2010 and ended in May 2013, with 52 patients randomised. The treatment follow-up of LEAN participants is currently ongoing and is due to finish in July 2014. The findings of this trial will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and international presentations.

Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov NCT01237119.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003995DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3822302PMC
November 2013

Patient and public involvement to support liver disease research.

Br J Nurs 2012 Sep 13-26;21(16):972-6

Wellcome Trust Resaerch Facility, National Institute for Health Research Birmingham Liver Biomedical Research Unit.

Patient and public involvement (PPI) has become increasingly important to ensure the needs of patients are fully considered when they participate in clinical trials. Most funders now require a plan for PPI in grant applications. When fully embraced and correctly implemented, PPI adds an important dimension to clinical trials, and its continuing development is critical if we are to maintain the public's support for clinical research. The development of a PPI panel for the National Institute for Health Research Birmingham Liver Biomedical Research Unit (NIHR BRU) has helped to: promote research locally and nationally; improve recruitment to and participation in trials; promote public engagement and education activities; and improve the quality and relevance of consent forms and information sheets for participants. The NIHR BRU has the support of a PPI panel which constantly champions the research being undertaken to the wider community. This paper describes how the panel was established and why it is so effective.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12968/bjon.2012.21.16.972DOI Listing
December 2012

An interview of Darren Barton by Jane Westberg.

Authors:
Darren Barton

Educ Health (Abingdon) 2004 Jul;17(2):247-53

Awabakal Aboriginal Medical Service.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13576280410001711085DOI Listing
July 2004
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