Clinical Drug Trials Offer Hope of Relief to Patients with Stigmatizing Lymphedema
For people with disfiguring lymphedema, the hope that a drug may help reduce inflammation and swelling — potentially returning to them a life of dignity — is huge cause for celebration.
The video below chronicles the work of The Task Force’s Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center (NTD-SC) and its partners in assessing the effectiveness of the drug, doxycycline, to reduce inflammation for people suffering from lymphedema.
The clinical trials are funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and are being conducted in sites across three countries: Sri Lanka, Mali, and India. Additional sites of the trial, funded by the German government, are being led by the University of Bonn. The trials are expected to be completed by 2021.
More than 15 million people worldwide suffer from lymphedema as a result of the mosquito-borne infection, lymphatic filariasis (LF). Lymphedema of the leg or arm and its advanced form, known as elephantiasis, are significant causes of disability and morbidity in 72 countries endemic for LF.
“Although mass treatment with antiparasitic drugs has led to significant reductions in the transmission of LF worldwide, activities to address morbidity have lagged behind,” says NTD-SC’s director Eric Ottesen, MD. “Consequently, even countries that have successfully interrupted LF transmission may have sizeable populations who continue to suffer from the disabling and stigmatizing effects of lymphedema.”