Anorak News | Trial & Error

Trial & Error

by | 15th, March 2006

‘IT takes a certain kind of person to agree to have new drugs and medical treatment tested on them.

Often these human guinea pigs are called ‘medial students’ and they have, for a few pounds compensation, agreed to have their backsides peppered with different kinds of tanning products and serums.

But sometimes the drug is something stronger than hair dye and spot cream. And today the Times brings news on its front page of TGN 1412, a drug intended to fight leukaemia and rheumatism.

As the paper writes, eight healthy men agreed to take part in the trial. Six were given the drug; the other two were given a placebo. The result is that the two are doing just fine, while the six are in a “serious condition” in Northwick Park Hospital, London.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has sent out an “international alert” to regulatory bodies telling them to not administer the drug.

The drug had been tested on animals and results failed to indicate that it would damage humans. As a spokesperson for the MHRA says: “The trials on animals did not give any grounds to say the clinical trial could not go ahead.”

But something must have gone wrong. And now, as the Telegraph says, all six are reported to have suffered multiple organ failure. Two are said to be in mortal danger.

As Herman Scholtz, head of Parexel International Clinical Pharmacology, which runs the private testing unit at Northwick Park, says in the Guardian: “Such an adverse drug reaction occurs extremely rarely and this is an unfortunate and unusual situation.”

Too right it is. Not least of all for Ryan Flanagan, 21, from Highbury in North London. The Times quotes the Sun as saying he was paid £2,000 for the tests.

Sarah Brown, a friend of the patient, says: “Ryan was a healthy young man and he saw the trial advertised on the internet. He is at college and was doing it to make a bit of extra money. His mother got a call last night to say his head and neck were swelled up and his leg had turned purple.”

Which is fine if that was what the drug was supposed to do. But not so great if it wasn’t…’

Posted: 15th, March 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink