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Roswell Park set to begin clinical trial on COVID-19 treatment

Posted at 9:21 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 23:18:03-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Researchers at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center are leading a study that could help patients who have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

On Wednesday evening, it was announced that Roswell Park is the "lead center for the local study as part of a collaborative clinical trial that will make a new treatment option available to local patients diagnosed with COVID-19."

According to Igor Puzanov, MD, MSci, FACP, of Roswell Park, the study will allow eligible patients at some local medical facilities to take part in a large national study of sarilumab, an anti-inflammatory agent.

The first trial is set to begin on Thursday. Dr. Puzanov could not tell 7 Eyewitness News the age of the patient, however he did say in a phone interview that the treatment is designed for patients who are in late stages of the virus, suffering from severe respiratory issues.

Doctors will be using sarilumab to try to stop the lung injury, reverse it, and help patients breathe on their own, according to Dr. Puzanov.

If it works, the treatment could lessen the need for ventilators, which have been in a national shortage.

Dr. Puzanov and his team, including Gene Morse of UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, pulled this effort together in a matter of days. Normally, this kind of study takes months to organize. Dr. Puzanov says the speed at which this has been organized reflects the gravity of the coronavirus crisis.

For more information on COVID-19 in Western New York, click here.