€6 million to tackle thyroid problems

Medical experts from around Europe came together at the University of Glasgow for the inaugural meeting of a research project that will investigate current treatments for those who suffer from a mildly underactive thyroid gland. The study, Thyroid Hormone Replacement for Subclinical Hypo-Thyroidism Trial (TRUST), has been funded by a €6 Million grant from the European Union’s FP7 programme.

David Stott TRUST researchers will follow 3,000 people over the next five years in an attempt to better understand how best to treat those who suffer from a mildly underactive thyroid gland. Half of the subjects will be treated with a hormone replacement drug, while the other half will be given a placebo; both groups will then be monitored to evaluate how they respond to the treatments.

The thyroid gland is located in the neck and controls how quickly the body uses energy and produces proteins; it also controls how sensitive the body is to various hormones. A mildly underactive thyroid, a condition also known as subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH), affects around one in six people over the age of 65 and has been linked to various health problems, including heart attacks and strokes, in later life.

The project will see academics from the University of Glasgow collaborate with experts in ageing, thyroid problems and vascular disease from around Europe, including researchers from the Leiden University Medical Centre and Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing, Netherlands; University of Cork, Ireland and University of Berne, Switzerland.  Professor David Stott from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences will lead the study for in the UK.

Speaking about the research project, Professor Stott said: “I am delighted to formally announce the launch of the TRUST project. This international collaboration involves four countries - Scotland, the Netherlands, Ireland and Switzerland. It brings together experts in multiple disciplines, including geriatrics, primary care, endocrinology, cardiovascular disease, metabolic medicine, and biostatistics, as well as the patient support group, Thyroid Federation International.

“The project has the potential to significantly improve the health and well-being of older people with subclinical hypothyroidism, resolving uncertainties about how best to manage this common condition.”

Notes for editors:

FP7 is the short name for the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. This is the EU’s main instrument for funding research in Europe and runs from 2007 to 2013. It aims to foster and support research in science and technology to address the issues surrounding social, economic, environmental and industrial that affect Europe.


For more information contact Nick Wade in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 7126 or email nick.wade@glasgow.ac.uk

First published: 21 November 2011