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University of Pittsburgh Launches Groundbreaking Clinical Trial Revolutionizing Rare Diseases Myositis and Interstitial Lung Disease

September 28, 2023

The University of Pittsburgh recently launched a pioneering clinical trial, Myositis Interstitial Lung Disease (MINT), and recruited and enrolled its first patient. MINT is the first decentralized clinical trial of its kind in the nation and is funded through a $10 million grant from Boehringer Ingelheim.

The trial focuses on myositis and interstitial lung disease, with an emphasis on pulmonary fibrosis, a rare and often debilitating condition. Patients living in the U.S. can join the study from the comfort of their homes with most of the study procedures done at the patient’s residence.

”MINT puts the patient's well-being at the forefront,” says Rohit Aggarwal, MD, MS, principal investigator, medical director of the UPMC Arthritis and Immunity Center, co-director of UPMC Myositis Center, and professor of Medicine in the UPMC Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology. “By embracing decentralized methodologies, we are breaking down geographical barriers, allowing patients from across the nation to participate comfortably from their homes. This is critically important for advancing research in rare diseases.”

Decentralized clinical trials represent a monumental shift towards patient-centric research. Unlike traditional trials that require patients to visit the study center, these innovative studies are predominantly conducted remotely or from the patient’s home, harnessing the power of digital health technologies and virtual care. This approach not only streamlines the research process but also enhances patient accessibility, inclusivity, and comfort – a vital consideration in the context of rare diseases.

MINT’s decentralized design provides the following benefits for patients and the research team:

  • Patient centric and patient preferred. MINT places patients at the heart of the research process, tailoring the study to their preferences and needs. This patient-centric approach enhances engagement and participation.
  • Enriches diversity and inclusivity. By breaking down geographical barriers, MINT fosters greater diversity and inclusivity in clinical trials, ensuring marginalized communities have an opportunity to contribute to medical progress.
  • Accelerated recruitment. The decentralized model allows for faster recruitment, expediting the development of potential treatments for myositis and interstitial lung disease.
  • Multilingual participation. MINT welcomes participants from diverse linguistic backgrounds, promoting multilingual participation and making clinical research accessible to a broader audience.
  • Real-time data acquisition. The use of digital health technologies, including wearable devices, smartphones, and virtual care enables real-time data collection, enhancing the precision and efficiency of the trial.
  • Geographic accessibility. With patients participating comfortably from their homes, this removes the logistical challenges associated with traditional in-person trials.

To refer your adult interstitial lung disease patients with clinical myositis (or those with positive for myositis autoantibodies) for the trial, please email Dr. Aggarwal or the study team, or call 412-648-4005.