Middlemore Hospital Respiratory department funded to run a trial on resveratrol - a potential novel treatment for bronchiectasis

Counties Manukau Health doctors are leading a trial to find possible treatments for bronchiectasis.

Jun 10, 2020

10/06/2020

Middlemore research fellow and respiratory physician Dr Benjamin Diggins and Associate Professor Conroy Wong have been awarded funding from the New Zealand Health Research Council (HRC) and Ko Awatea (CMDHB Research Office) to conduct a trial investigating resveratrol as a potential novel treatment for bronchiectasis.

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and antiviral activity. It is found in many foods including red wine, grapes, blueberries, nuts and a variety of other plants. The trial will test whether resveratrol improves key markers of inflammation in patients with bronchiectasis, as well as assess its antimicrobial and antioxidant effects, the optimal dose to use, and the safety of high dose treatment.

Potential benefits, if resveratrol is shown to be effective, include decreased exacerbation frequency, improved quality of life, and reduced healthcare utilisation and associated costs. “The identification of non-antibiotic treatments is at the forefront of international research into bronchiectasis.  As resveratrol is a naturally-occurring antioxidant compound with a range of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, the trial is a highly exciting prospect, and we hope that it will ultimately lead to improved treatment options for our patients with bronchiectasis”, says Dr Diggins.

The trial will be run at Middlemore hospital, Auckland, New Zealand and aims to recruit 30 participants.

Dr Benjamin Diggins has been a respiratory research fellow at Middlemore hospital for the past few years and developed the idea of using resveratrol to reduce airway inflammation in patients with bronchiectasis.

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Dr Diggins says “When I arrived from the UK at Middlemore, I was struck by how many patients we see with bronchiectasis, especially at a younger age and greater severity than I was used to in my UK experience. 

Having the opportunity (and guidance from Dr Conroy Wong) to develop a clinical trial, that will hopefully identify a potential novel treatment for bronchiectasis has been a great experience.  On a personal level, it has emphasised the importance of persistence in research, and these experiences will be very helpful for development of future research projects”.

The funding awarded by HRC to conduct the trial is one of seven studies awarded in this year’s Feasibility Studies round, providing support of up to $250,000 for two years for each study. “We’re very fortunate and grateful to have secured funding from Ko Awatea and HRC for the study. However, we had to dust ourselves off a few times after three grant rejections before securing our final funding. This reminded us that persistence and belief can pay off!” Dr Wong says.

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