Five new clinical studies funded

From stroke in children to cholesterol in elderly people - the SNSF awards 12.4 million francs for clinical trials.

​Can stopping the medication make certain conditions more treatable? Medical questions like these often lie outside the industry focus, even though they are of great importance to society. This is why the SNSF has funded excellent clinical trials that cover these insufficiently researched topics since 2016. In the 2019 call of the Investigator Initiated Clinical Trials (IICT) programme, the SNSF evaluated 29 proposals, 5 of which will now receive grants worth 12.4 million francs in total.

Crucial factors for a positive funding decision are, on the one hand, a high level of unmet medical needs and the relevance of the research question for patients and clinical practice. On the other hand, the projects are expected to meet high methodological and statistical standards and must have good chances of success. Another crucial criterion is researchers' experience of conducting large-scale clinical trials.

Before the projects can get under way, they need to be approved by the cantonal ethics commissions and Swissmedic, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products.

The five approved projects

Mirjam Christ-Crain, Basel University Hospital: Which is more bearable for patients with too little salt in the blood: the standard current treatment or a form of therapy based on a new algorithm?

Maja Steinlin, Inselspital Bern: Does administering steroids in high doses help children suffering from stroke and a one-sided narrowing of brain arteries?

Nicolas Rodondi, Institute of Primary Health Care (BIHAM): How are elderly patients who have various illnesses but a healthy heart affected by the discontinuation of medicine that reduces cholesterol?

Iris Baumgartner, Inselspital Bern: Are current treatments sufficiently effective in treating diabetes patients suffering from a foot ulcer and chronic arterial circulatory problems? Or do other measures need to be taken to immediately improve blood circulation in the legs?

Benoit Guery, Lausanne University Hospital: Which treatment is more effective against diarrhoea caused by Clostridioides difficile bacteria: a stool transplant containing microorganisms of normal gut flora or antibiotics?

Between 70 and 2000 patients

For each project, an application was jointly submitted by two to five people. In addition, between 10 and 26 project partners are involved per project. The researchers will work on their clinical trials for four to five years. For this purpose, they are recruiting between 70 and 2000 patients.

"The research funded by the SNSF generates knowledge that directly facilitates advances in medicine," says Deborah Studer, who is responsible for IICT at the SNSF. "We value our programme very highly as it contributes to improving the lives of patients."

Since 2016, the SNSF has funded 28 clinical trials overall, and the next call is already under way: researchers announced their intention to participate earlier this year. They will need to submit their proposals by 2 November 2020. The SNSF is continuing the programme and continually optimising it.

IICT webpage