NIHR awards funding to SHTAC to undertake collaborative research

Thu 3rd May 2012

Southampton Science Park based, SHTAC, part of the University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine, has recently been awarded funding to undertake a systematic review and economic evaluation for the National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment programme. The study will commence in May 2012 and over a 12 month period will assess the clinical-effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of treatments for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a serious and difficult to manage lung disease, the exact cause of which is not known. It generally affects people over 60 years of age and the main symptom is shortness of breath, which can have a considerable impact on day to day life. IPF was once thought to progress at a steady, predictable rate, but this is often not the case. Many people with IPF deteriorate rapidly, while others have periods of relative stability. In general people with the disease survive between two to five years. 

The aim of treatment is to reduce symptoms and improve survival. The type of treatment offered can vary, and people with IPF can also vary in their response to the available treatments. A number of new treatments for IPF have emerged over recent years, however, it is uncertain which are effective and provide the best value for money to the NHS. 

Dr Emma Loveman, who is leading the collaborative research team says “The project will bring together the most up-to-date, high quality, published and unpublished evidence on the benefits, harms and costs of treatments for IPF with the aim of helping patients, carers and health care professionals to deal with this difficult to treat lung disease”.

This project is a collaboration between SHTAC, King’s College London, the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS trust and the Royal Brompton Hospital.