Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI asthma study funded as part of €8.8m investment in health research trials for border region

31 October 2018

People from both sides of the border will benefit from new health and social care research trials thanks to a new Cross-Border Healthcare Intervention Trials in Ireland Network (CHITIN).

CHITIN has received €8.8m in funding from the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding for the project has also been provided by the Departments of Health in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

CHITIN aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Cavan, Monaghan, and Louth) through cross border research collaborations. The research will look at key health challenges such as youth mental health, obesity, asthma and stroke.

The initial 11 trials announced include the RCSI-led INhaler Compliance Assessment for Symptomatic UNcontrolled asthma (INCA SUN) study, led by Professor Richard Costello, Department of Medicine, RCSI. The INhaler Compliance Assessment (INCA) device, developed by researchers at RCSI and Trinity College Dublin, uses digital signals from inhalers to identify a patient’s inhaler technique and adherence to obtain a complete understanding of their inhaler use over time.

The INCA SUN study aims to demonstrate that information provided from the INCA technology along with peakflow and environmental data can be integrated and used to guide asthma nurse training and physician management more effectively than current standard care.

The ultimate aim is to give patients with severe asthma greater control over their condition and improve their quality of life.

220 patients will be recruited mostly from severe asthma clinics in academic teaching hospitals. The CHITIN network will enable clinicians and patients in border regions, who may have otherwise experienced reduced access to research due to geographical location or distance for travel, to participate in the trial.

CHITIN launch RCSI’s Professor Richard Costello, lead on the INCA trial (back row, 2nd left) and Dr Frank Doyle, INCA trial contributor (back row, 2nd right) pictured at the CHITIN launch event with Dr Janice Bailie, Public Health Agency (left), Dr Siobhan O’Sullivan, Department of Health (right) and trial leads and contributors from QUB.

Welcoming the launch of the CHITIN project, Dr Janice Bailie, Assistant Director, Research and Development, Public Health Agency and lead partner on the project said: “Funding of €8.8m for the CHITIN project is great news for health research. Not only is CHITIN going to help benefit the health and wellbeing of people and help prevent illness, it means that those people who may not have been able to access health research previously have the opportunity to do so in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland.”

Janice added: “In addition to this, a network of health and social care research professionals will be created and this will help shape research in the future whilst working towards a shared goal so people can enjoy the benefits health research can bring them in the future.”

According to Darrin Morrissey, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board: “Health research and trials can transform people’s lives. They help prevent illness, improve patient care and advance health policy. I believe the learning and health benefits that we get from this initiative will extend throughout the island of Ireland.”

Welcoming the project Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body said: “The EU’s INTERREG VA Programme seeks to ensure equity of access to healthcare services for all citizens regardless of where they live. This project seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of people living on both sides of the border, through a unique partnership of healthcare providers with a wealth of experience in the research and delivery of highly effective public health campaigns.

“By working in collaboration they will be laying the foundations for new treatments and preventative measures that can improve the quality of life of thousands of citizens,” she continued

For further information visit the CHITIN website.