Doctor 2A study into idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) – a currently incurable but increasingly common condition – has recruited its 100th participant during an international IPF awareness week.

The clinical trial, funded by the funded by the EME Programme, a Medical Research Council and National Institute for Health Research partnership, is the largest non-commercial drug trial for IPF in the UK and spans 35 NHS trusts across the country.

IPF is a lung disease that causes progressive scarring of the lungs and is estimated to affect around 32,500 people in the UK. Patients with the disease have increasing poor lung function and the prognosis from diagnosis can be very poor.

Its cause is yet to be fully understood and as a result charities and organisations around the world, including the British Lung Foundation, created IPF Week, which runs from 17-24 September, to raise awareness of the condition.

Chief investigator Professor Andrew Wilson and his team from the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, are investigating the potential of the antibiotic Co-Trimoxazole as a treatment.

The research follows a previous study led by Professor Wilson, which showed that Co-Trimoxazole might improve survival in people with IPF.

Professor Wilson said: “With current therapies for IPF being limited, research in this area is clearly of vital importance. It is therefore exciting that such a significant study into this terrible condition is able to be undertaken by the UEA and its Clinical Trials Unit. I am delighted to work with colleagues from throughout the country to find out whether Co-Trimoxazole will help.”

The study aims to recruit 330 IPF patients from across the country and will continue until November 2018.

In addition to investigating whether or not Co-Trimoxazole benefits IPF patients, the study hopes to uncover further information about how the drug affects the lungs of patients with the disease and whether the drug is acting purely as an antibiotic or if it also has a disease modifying effect.

Part of this additional research will be analysed by the UEA Bioanalytical Facility situated in the Bob Champion Research & Education Building, on the Norwich Research Park.

More information about this significant study can be found at www.uea.ac.uk/eme-tipac or on twitter @emetipac. More information on IPF can be found at www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/idiopathic-pulmonary-fibrosis-ipf/ or www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pulmonary-fibrosis.