Southampton researchers are launching the first trial of a pioneering weight-loss treatment.
Healthy volunteers will test a self-expanding capsule designed to aid weight loss by reducing hunger.
The hydrogel works like a gastric balloon but is designed to be safe, affordable and taken at home.
Oxford Medical Products (OMP) has partnered with University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHSFT) for the first-in-human trial, led by Chief Investigator James Byrne.
OMP has today announced £1.25m from Innovate UK for the clinical trial. It is taking place at the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and Clinical Research Facility (CRF).
A growing problem
Around one in four adults in the UK now have obesity, which means having a BMI of 30 or above.
Obesity can increase the risk of many other health conditions, including type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. It costs the NHS billions of pounds each year.
However, current treatments are too expensive and resource-intensive to tackle the scale of the problem.
OMP aims to provide an affordable and effective treatment that could help people lose weight. Dr Camilla Easter, Chief Executive Officer of OMP, explained:
“Our aim is to develop a weight-loss solution that empowers people to successfully lose weight and maintain a healthy weight long term.
“We have developed a scalable solution that can be taken at home. It could ultimately be made available to hundreds of millions of people living with excessive weight.
“This Innovate UK grant helps to support the later phase of our pilot clinical trial. It will ensure the right data is generated to allow OMP to accelerate towards pivotal trials and regulatory approval.”
Pioneering new treatment
The trial is funded by Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst competition. It follows successful pre-clinical development of the hydrogel-based weight-loss treatment.
Mr James Byrne (MD, FRCS), a consultant surgeon at UHS and Chief Investigator for the first-in-human clinical trial said:
“I am excited to be working with Oxford Medical Products who, through Sirona, have developed a completely original approach to the serious problem of obesity.
“Our research team at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Southampton BRC are working with research leaders at the University of Oxford to evaluate this intervention with cutting edge technology and digitally driven data capture.
“I am very proud to be in the team performing this critically important research.”
The trial is being delivered locally by the NIHR Southampton CRF based at UHSFT.
To join this clinical trial, you must be:
Aged between 18 and 65
Have a BMI of 30-40
Willing to travel to Oxford for MRI visits
You must not be on any long-term treatments or have had weight loss surgery.
For more information, please contact SIRONASTUDY@uhs.nhs.uk or call 023 8120 5961/023 8120 4911.