Hospital trials to discover if hayfever drug could prevent asthma in children


Researchers at Southampton’s teaching hospitals are to take part in clinical trials of a drug that could prevent young hayfever sufferers from developing asthma.

The study, being conducted at the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at Southampton General Hospital, will investigate whether or not a tablet already approved in Europe for treating the grass pollen allergy in adults and children can halt the onset of the chronic lung disease.

A total of 650 children aged four to 11 years at 75 hospitals across Europe will take part in the five-year project, which will see participants receive either the allergy tablet or a placebo.

“We are already aware that the drug to be used in this trial increases the body’s tolerance to grass pollen and reduces allergic symptoms,” said Dr Graham Roberts, a consultant in paediatric allergy at Southampton General Hospital and senior clinical lecturer at the University of Southampton.

“But we now hope to find out whether the drug, if taken early enough, can prevent children with hayfever going on to develop asthma. The information we will obtain through this study will be very important to future progress.”

To find out more about the study and how to participate, contact Wellcome Trust senior children’s research nurse Michelle Casey on 023 8120 6322 or

Posted on Tuesday 16 February 2010