Christie seeks volunteers for clinical trial

CHAMPAIGN — It's a painful affliction, and not a pretty one.

But there may be some relief on the horizon for people suffering from a chronic, inflammatory skin disease with a long name, hidradenitis suppurativa.

Christie Clinic is enrolling 12 people in a late-stage clinical trial that uses the rheumatoid arthritis drug, Humira, to treat this condition.

Hidradentis suppurativa forms sores, "kind of like boils" under the arms or breasts or groin area, says Paula Phillips, certified clinical research coordinator at Christie Clinic.

"They're really uncomfortable and sore, and they're really debilitating sometimes," she said.

While the cause is unknown, cleanliness has nothing do with the condition and it crosses all social and economic sectors, Phillips said.

There will be 600 patients with moderate to severe cases enrolled at 50 medical sites worldwide for this study, according to Abbott Laboratories, the maker of Humira.

The phase three trial, to be conducted over three years, will focus on the safety and clinical outcomes of Humira, the brand name for the drug adalimumab, on treating the skin condition.

Humira was approved a decade ago to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and is now also used to treat Crohn's disease, psoriasis, and several other conditions, according to Abbott.

Phillips said the drug will be administered by injection, and once the initial screening and exams are finished, participants come once a month for treatments. Everything is provided at no cost to the patient, she said.

"It won't cure it, but it's supposed to help alleviate the symptoms and make it better, of course."

To enroll in the Humira study, patients must be 18 years old, in general good health, and diagnosed with the condition for at least one year. They must also must be affected in two areas of the body and have tried an antibiotic that didn't work for three consecutive months, according to Christie Clinic.

The clinic has about a half-dozen clinical studies in progress, among them one for patients with psoriasis and one for chronic pulmonary obstructive pulmonary disease, Phillips said.

For more information about the Humira study, call Phillips at 366-1327, or send an email to Pphillips@christieclinic.com

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