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Home » Clinical Trials » Drive for patient participation to advance lupus clinical trials in Ireland

Laura Clifton-Hadley

Associate Director, Clinical Operations UK & Ireland, Bristol Myers Squibb

Jill Mullan

Senior Medical Science Liaison, Innovative Medicines, Bristol Myers Squibb

A global biopharmaceutical company is empowering patient involvement in clinical trials, for the advancement of new treatments.

Lupus, a widespread chronic autoimmune illness, impacts millions globally (Lupus UK), affecting various organs and systems. It arises when the immune system attacks one’s own tissues and organs. Its cause remains unknown, necessitating additional research for new treatments that can change the course of the disease.

Lupus research in Ireland

Ireland stands at the forefront of pioneering efforts to combat lupus. With an extensive research infrastructure, strong collaborative networks, government support and ongoing academic excellence, Ireland is primed to conduct clinical trials focused on key areas of unmet patient need.

Treating lupus poses challenges due to its symptoms often resembling those of other conditions and its varied impact on individuals’ immune systems. Finding the right treatment for each person’s lupus is crucial. Insights gained from studying lupus could also help us understand and treat other autoimmune conditions.

Raising awareness of clinical
trials is vital to ensure uptake.

Global pharmaceutical involvement

Laura Clifton-Hadley, Associate Director of Clinical Operations and Jill Mullan, Senior Medical Science Liaison of Bristol Myers Squibb, highlight the clinical trials underway to develop potential treatments, ranging from small molecules and biologics to cell therapies.

“We are investigating potential new medicines for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), which is a very complex disease affecting more women than men and disproportionately impacting ethnic minorities,” says Clifton-Hadley.

By advancing lupus research, such disparities in healthcare outcomes can be addressed, ensuring all individuals affected by the disease receive equitable access to effective treatments and care.

“We are trying to bring the right medicines to the right patients faster,” adds Mullan. “Lupus is currently treated using a wide variety of medicines. Not all currently approved treatment options work for everyone, making this an important area in which to keep looking for potential new treatments.”

Patient engagement and awareness

Clinical trials are being conducted nationally, ensuring their accessibility to patients across Ireland. Patient involvement is the cornerstone of all clinical trials. “Patients are playing a part in science for themselves and future patients, getting a sense of comfort and an increased sense of physician involvement throughout,” insists Clifton-Hadley.

Stressing the importance of encouraging patient involvement, she says: “Raising awareness of clinical trials is vital to ensure uptake.”

Mullan adds: “We actively welcome participant diversity, going above and beyond to make sure participants from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and cultures have access to the information they need.”

Whether lupus or another condition with limited treatment options, Clifton-Hadley and Mullan encourage people affected to explore their options, as clinical trials are underway across Ireland.

Speak to your doctor about available trials, or go to 

March 2024

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