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Case study: First child vaccine study held in Bradford

Commercial expertise

Bordetella pertussis is a bacteria (germ) that causes infection in the upper airway and the lungs, more commonly known as “whooping cough”. Whooping cough is still with us; it happens in pockets and spreads easily as it’s very contagious. The effects of this infection can last up to 100 days.

Although most dangerous in babies, the whooping cough germ is carried and transmitted by primary school age children, teenagers and young adults. There are vaccines against whooping cough, though they are not as effective as we would like in stopping infection and the spread of the germ to others.

As the effects of whooping cough can be so debilitating and long lasting, new preventions to this infection are welcomed. This Pertussis trial will be evaluating a new vaccine for the prevention of pertussis, BPZE1. BPZE1 will be administered via a nasal spray, which is much less invasive for children and takes seconds to administer.

The commercial study is being run in the UK and Australia. Patient Recruitment Centre: Bradford (PRC: Bradford), based at Bradford Royal Infirmary, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is just one of 12 centres selected across the UK. This is the first child vaccine study to take place at PRC: Bradford. The PRC has contributed significantly to previous vaccine studies including; Novavax and Moderna Covid-19 vaccine studies.

The PRCs experience and resources in delivering commercial trials have widened capacity and capability for these kinds of trials to come to the region. Clinicians such as Dr Anil Shenoy, Principal Investigator have been able to pursue broader research thanks to the dedicated team, increased capacity and facilities that the PRC can offer.

Dr Anil Shenoy shares further details on the trial and the important role PRC: Bradford has played in delivering the commercial trial:

"I have been working with the team here in the PRC: Bradford to deliver this study who have extensive knowledge and experience in delivering commercial research studies. Which can sometimes be very different and more demanding than non-commercial research. The PRC have been instrumental in supporting the trial set-up and delivery. The facilities have been excellent, in the dedicated research space and labs which are integral into the smooth running of the trial"

Delivering patient-focused trials

PRC: Bradford prioritises the patient experience throughout their research journey. With dedicated facilities and knowledgeable, friendly staff the PRC delivers clinical trials with patients at the heart of the study.

Ben Slow, a participant in the trial, and his mother on their experience at PRC: Bradford said:

"... I knew the study was going to be held at the NIHR Patient Recruitment Centre and I knew it was going to be a really great facility, they've got lots of equipment and the nurses and doctors there are fantastic. So we knew we were going to be really well looked after and it was a great place to be."

The Pertussis trial design means there are only four visits to the centre while participating in the trial. The PRC’s hours of operation make appointment times flexible to suit school-age children and their parents or carers who might have working commitments. The aim of the PRCs is to encourage participation in research studies; by working with the patient this is more possible.

Improving patient recruitment in clinical trials

The recruitment methods for this study are proactive and inclusive. PRC: Bradford has recruited participants to the study by reaching out to local schools and local GPs. This link with recruitment in primary care and community settings displays the recruitment expertise of the PRC and the distinct opportunities it has to access diverse patient populations. The PRC has recruited quickly and efficiently and has led to it being the third highest recruiter in the UK.

The PRC has been proactive in its recruitment methods by using the City of Research - Research as One registry; allowing the PRC to reach out to potential participants and empower them to volunteer for the trial.

The PRC continues to expand their offering to patients by delivering important research studies to new areas, ensuring that the best possible care can be provided to those that need it. With such trials, the focus is on providing long-term benefits and outcomes, with Dr Anil Shenoy confidently concluding that:

“This trial will ultimately protect our children against whooping cough and improve patient care for the future.”

Further information on the study

The Pertussis study is now closed for recruitment. For more information on other research opportunities available at the Patient Recruitment Centre in Bradford, please email: