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On Wednesday 12th October over 70 scientists from academia, healthcare, and industry came together to discuss the use of challenge models in the development of therapeutics. The symposium was organised by NDORMS Clinical Therapeutics group (James Fullerton and Duncan Richards).

The programme covered a wide range of issues relating to the use of challenge agents in human clinical studies and was kindly sponsored by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Human challenge studies have utility across a range of therapeutic areas but teams are often working in small groups. It was fantastic to witness the energy during the panel discussions and the connections made during the breaks as participants discussed solutions to shared problems.

Duncan Richards, Climax Professor of Clinical Therapeutics


Oxford has a long history of conducting innovative experimental medicine studies that deliver real-world impact. This symposium showed that the future will be bright as well, highlighting our growing expertise in the field, the potential of technical advances to deliver new biological insight and the value of both cross-disciplinary and academic-industry collaboration.”

                        James Fullerton, Associate Professor of Clinical Therapeutics

Audience at the challenge trial symposium

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes human challenge studies as Trials in which participants are intentionally challenged (whether or not they have been vaccinated) with an infectious disease organism.”

Researchers are then able to monitor the response to that challenge agent and make informed decisions about whether medicines should be further tested in larger scale clinical studies to treat disease.