Liaison between patient and study team

The Department of Clinical Research (DKF) is applying its competences within logistics and communication for the successful coordination of the "STOP-FLU" study.

Last autumn, the Outpatient Study Centre (ASZ) of the Department of Clinical Research (DKF) was temporarily transformed into a logistics centre. More than 400 research laboratory kits had to be distributed to eight Swiss hospitals for the multicentre STOP-FLU study. "STOP-FLU" stands for "Swiss Trial in solid Organ transplantation on Prevention of inFLUenza" (see info box).

A major logistics project

Vanessa Grassedonio, Study Nurse at the DKF, was responsible for providing the centres with laboratory kits. A task more complex than assumed. The more than 400 kits had to be assembled individually from various large packages and equipped with instructions in the respective language for each study centre.

Taking time for patients

Michael Dickenmann, Deputy Chief Physician of Transplantation Immunology and Nephrology at the University Hospital Basel (USB), leads the study in Basel. For his study site, he has commissioned the DKF with the monitoring, as well as on site management by the DKF-Study Nurses. This includes the challenge of separating blinded and unblinded study activities. Vanessa also supports the research team by training the study participants and by answering questions outside the planned visits. Taking sufficient time for the patients and showing them respect and empathy is key for their participation and for the successful progress of this study.

The STOP-FLU Study

Reducing the Burden of Influenza after Solid Organ Transplantation: the STOP-FLU study, Swiss Trial in Solid Organ Transplantation on Prevention of influenza

Patients: 780
Centres: 8
Duration: Flu seasons 2018/2019 and 2019/2020

The Stop-Flu study is an Investigator-Initiated-Clinical Trial (IICT) project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. It evaluates the immunigenicity of three different strategies for influenza vaccines in transplant patients (≥ 3 months after transplantation). The control group receives an invluenza vaccine according to standard practice (VaxigripTetra®, tetravalent vaccine). The two comparator groups are vaccinated either with the high-dose vaccine (Fluzone HD®, trivalent vaccine) or with an adjuvant vaccine (Fluad®, trivalent vaccine). The study will be conducted during two consecutive influenza seasons (2018/2019 and 2019/2020) in eight Swiss hospitals and transplant centers, including Basel under the direction of Prof. Michael Dickenmann. Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) is the initiating and coordinating centre for the study with PD Dr. Oriol Manuel as the main sponsor.

The commitment of our patients should be recognised as a special contribution to research. It should be kept in mind that participation in this project involves a great deal of effort.

Vanessa Grassedanio

[Translate to English:] Vanessa und M. Dickenmann

Michael Dickenmann, Deputy Chief Physician of Transplantation Immunology and Nephrology at the USB and Vanessa Grassedonio, Study Nurse at the DKF

STOPFLU study team

The team of the STOP-FLU study: Simone Rychler-Hirschler, Nurse, Melanie Schönenberger, Senior Physician and Co-PI, and Catherine Haenlin from Nephrology, USB (back row, 1st, 3rd and 4th from the left). Vanessa Grassedonio, Study Nurse and Emilie Muller Monitorin (both seated) and Silke Purschke, Senior Study Nurse (2nd from the left) from the DKF.

The recruitment of participants for the STOP-FLU study proved challenging. A good conversation with the patient can significantly increase their motivation.

Michael Dickenmann

Life-saving flu vaccination

Immunosuppressed persons, such as organ transplant patients, are at increased risk of serious complications in the case of influenza, which may lead to death. The most important preventive measure remains the annual vaccination. With the new flu season, the STOP-FLU study is entering its second round with new insights, beyond science: The success of a research project depends on the collaboration between the study team and the patient. The DKF can act as liaison and support both parties.

Department of Clinical Research, October 2019