The DZL will continue to fund clinical trials in 2022. Two studies were successful in this year's application round.
A pilot study will investigate the efficacy of liposomal cyclosporine A (L-CsA-i) in COVID-19. This prospective, randomized, double-blind proof-of-concept study will enroll patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection whose COVID infection is not (yet) causing hospitalization. Currently, COVID-19 research focuses primarily on vaccination and drug therapies to treat patients with severe disease progression. However, early outpatient treatment is of great interest to the healthcare system, because safe and effective inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 replication can prevent early spread of the virus and progression of the disease to a severe course. Administration of L-CsA-i may be an option for this purpose. The study is being conducted in cooperation between the DZL sites UGMLC (principal investigator Prof. Susanne Herold) and BREATH (Prof. Tobias Welte).
In the second funded study, the role of lymphotoxin-expressing T cells in the development of tissue damage in COPD pathogenesis will be investigated. To this end, blood serum from two well-defined, retrospective cohorts will first be assessed. In a further step, both blood cells and -serum will be examined in a prospective validation cohort. The goal of the study is to develop a predictive model that identifies subtypes at risk for developing severe COPD at early stages of COPD. This should enable more effective, personalized interventions. The study is conducted in cooperation of the DZL sites CPC-M (Dr. Ali Önder Yildirim (principal investigator), Dr. Kathrin Kahnert), ARCN (Dr. Henrik Watz) and TLRC (Dr. Frederik Trinkmann).
In addition to the conduct of these studies, the DZL is supporting the proposal preparation of five additional studies by means of start-up funding. The broad spectrum of study preparations includes the investigation of a new drug for pulmonary fibrosis, a therapy to increase tolerance of lung grafts by implantation of regulatory T cells, and an investigation of the safety and feasibility of using an immunotherapy in young children to prevent asthma. Two of the proposal submissions deal with pulmonary hypertension, one with studies of a mitochondrial antioxidant in right heart failure, the other with expression of the major signaling pathway in patients with different subtypes of PH. The applications will later be submitted to different public funding agencies, e.g. the DFG, the BMBF or the DZL itself.
Currently, the DZL is funding a total of 14 studies on a wide variety of lung diseases, and 11 additional studies have already been completed. By means of the funding instrument of start-up funding, the preparation of 21 applications has been made possible so far.
Text: A. Zurawski