Trust researchers begin Hayfever study ahead of spring

A new study aims to determine whether a novel drug, given alongside an established immunotherapy treatment, will improve effectiveness, help shorten the treatment period for patients and prolong the effectiveness after the treatment course is completed.

Hay fever affects approximately 13 million people in the UK and current treatments, including antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays, only provide good symptom control for approximately 40% of sufferers. 

For those with more severe symptoms that are not well controlled, a treatment has become available in recent years, known as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). SLIT involves placing a grass allergen tablet (Grazax®) under the tongue on a daily basis.

Grazax® has been shown to be effective in helping to relieve symptoms during the pollen season. The tablet needs to be given daily for three years in order to achieve long-term relief of symptoms for years after its discontinuation 

This is where the new study comes in.

The GRADUATE study

The GRADUATE study aims to determine whether a drug called dupilumab, given alongside Grazax®, will improve its effectiveness and help to shorten the treatment period needed to achieve long-term effectiveness after completion of the treatment, and also to reduce any side effects.

Dupilumab is a treatment that has already been shown to be effective in patients with allergic eczema and allergic asthma. Although both dupilumab and Grazax® reduce allergic inflammation, they do so by different mechanisms and the researchers believe giving both together will result in a shorter course of treatment and induce long-term benefits.

The research is led by Stephen Durham, professor of allergy and respiratory medicine at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College London, who says:

“We recognise that hay fever affects quality of life for millions of people. Not only do we hope to identify a more effective and longer lasting treatment option for sufferers, but this study will also help us to better understand mechanisms involved in allergic responses and the impact of immunotherapy and should inform novel future treatment approaches for hay fever.”

Patients who take part in the study will be randomly assigned to one of three groups; one group will be given Grazax® with dupilumab, another group will be given Grazax® with a placebo, and the final group will be given 2 placebo treatments. 

How you can get involved

The research team is looking for individuals with moderate to severe hay fever to participate in the trial. You can find out more about the study and whether you would be eligible by visiting the study website.

For more information about any of our other studies please contact us.

Research during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Trust has implemented stringent procedures to minimise the risks of spreading infection and to ensure that all patients, research participants and staff remain safe.