September 2017 - The following are research projects involving young people with thyroid disease in the UK. This is not a comprehensive list and there are other projects underway or being planned.
Study of Graves’ disease in young people
The clinical trial that is looking to see if the medicine Rituximab can improve outcomes in young people diagnosed with Graves’ disease is now well underway. Eligible patients are aged 12 to 20 years who have recently been diagnosed and hence have been on Carbimazole for less than six weeks. Collaborating centres include Birmingham, Cardiff, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton. If you would like any more details about the trial or if you would like to know if you are eligible then please speak to your local doctor or contact Tim Cheetham by email at email@example.com
The National BSPED Thyrotoxicosis Study
This study, supported by the BTF is looking at how best to administer anti-thyroid drugs (usually carbimazole in the UK) to children and adolescents with thyrotoxicosis. The study finished in 2015 and over 80 patients were recruited from around 15 centres in England, Scotland and Wales. The data is currently being put in the correct format so that analysis can begin. The medicine side-effect information is very important in this trial and we have been making sure that this is accurately categorised. The analysis of the data will be conducted by a professor in medical statistics at Newcastle University and will begin in the very near future. Many people will have heard about this trial over the years and we are sorry that analysing the data (and hence working out what the trial has taught us) is taking so long.
The British Paediatric Surveillance study of congenital hypothyroidism (CHT)
This study has been looking at the incidence of CHT in the UK (how common it is) and other important issues such as what proportion of cases are temporary as opposed to permanent. The study will also provide information about how paediatricians manage the condition in the UK. The study is supported by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and received backing from the BTF.
Information has now been collected for over 600 newborn babies who were screened for CHT using the newborn blood spot (heel prick test) and then followed for up to three years. Of all the babies who had a positive (abnormal) screening test and needed more tests, 24% did not have CHT, 9% had temporary (transient) CHT, and 67% had permanent CHT and probably need treatment for life.
The study findings also show that the newborn blood spot screening programme is very good at identifying babies with CHT. With screening, just 1 in 100,000 babies are found only because they become unwell. Nowadays around 5 in every 10,000 newborn babies are diagnosed with CHT. This is twice as many as before screening began in 1981 although the reasons for the increase are not known. Information from this study is now helping to improve the screening programme. The researchers are also using the information to look at the different kinds of care that children with CHT receive in the UK.
Contact: Rachel Knowles firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about this study please see the following publications
Newborn Screening for Primary Congenital Hypothyroidism: Estimating Test Performance at Different TSH Thresholds, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 103, Issue 10, 1 October 2018, Pages 3720–3728
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health BPSU study - Congenital hypothyroidism