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Feature Doctors and Research

The lung study promising a breath of fresh air in research world

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 27 November 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6343
  1. Matthew Limb, freelance journalist, London, UK
  1. limb{at}

Could the Salford Lung Study be a “game changer” for the way clinical studies are conducted? Matthew Limb reports

Researchers see it as a test bed for “real world” trials that could lead to the quicker introduction of drugs and medical devices. The Salford Lung Study is examining the safety and effectiveness of a new treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 80 general practices around Salford in north west England.1 About 2500 patients are participating, half randomised to a new inhalation powder Relvar Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/vilanterol) and half to usual treatment.

Conventional randomised controlled trials are usually conducted in patients with selected characteristics, an arguably artificial setting. The Salford study differs in that it is a pragmatic trial of patients from everyday general practice, the first started before licensing.2

“In a real world study the question you’re asking is, ‘Will that medicine work in the general population … and in the health service setting in which it’s provided?’” says David Leather, global medical affairs leader for sponsor GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

“There is …

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