PCORI Board Approves $83 Million for Research on Multiple Sclerosis, Hepatitis C and Rare Diseases

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by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors recently approved an $83 million grant to support 26 patient-centered, comparative effectiveness clinical research (CER) studies on a range of diseases and patient groups.

Two of these grants, totaling $29.5 million, will fund research into the care of patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is considered a major health problem. Grants with a sum of $7.4 million will support studies on rare diseases in response to PCORI’s offer of a special funding pool to support research on rare conditions, including genetic disorders, non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis and syringomyelia (a neurological condition), among others.

The new CER clinical studies on HCV seek to compare the trade-offs of diverse oral antiviral medications regimens and different methods to improve treatment adherence in those who use injection drugs. “We heard from many people—including individuals with hepatitis C as well as clinicians who treat them, the pharmaceutical industry, payers and others—that with the great promise offered by new antiviral medications, there are also many questions about hepatitis C therapies and care delivery that need to be answered,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH in a news release. “As the availability and use of the new antiviral medications increases, we’re pleased to support patient-centered CER that will help clinical decision makers to make better-informed choices about hepatitis C treatment and care.”

The Board has also approved PCORI’s development of support for research on treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) and the long-term use of opioids for people with chronic pain. Four CER studies focused on MS will be funded, namely a study assessing the discontinuation of disease modifying therapies (DMTs) in MS patients, a study on a model to improve patient engagement and data integration with PCORI’s research networks, a study focused on the MS Patient-Powered Research Network (MS-PPRN) iConquerMS™ which goal is to advance patient-centered research, and a project centered on the development of a patient-led MS research community.

This fall, PCORI will provide more details regarding research in MS care. The CER studies on MS will be granted up to $50 million to investigate the comparative effectiveness of different disease-modifying treatments and whether tele-health could be as effective as standard direct care.

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