Leucine and ACE inhibitors as therapies for sarcopenia: a two by two factorial randomised placebo controlled trial

Study Team

Professor Miles Witham – Clinical Reader in Ageing and Health

Chief Investigator

Professor Witham is Professor of Trials for Older People at Newcastle University, and also works as a consultant geriatrician in Newcastle. His major research interests are in clinical trials in older people, testing treatments to improve muscle function and prevent vascular disease in older people.

Professor Witham is the Lead investigator for the LACE trial.

Prof Miles Witham, Chief Investigator – e: Miles.Witham@newcastle.ac.uk  t: 0191 2081317

Allan Struthers - Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Dundee


Professor Struthers graduated with a medical degree in 1977 from Glasgow University and has been doing clinical research since 1980.  He has explored often the use of old medicines to treat different diseases from their traditional use.  As an example relevant to the LACE study, he was well aware 20 years ago that ACE inhibitors drugs helped the muscles of heart failure patients and he suggested that it might also do the same in elderly patients with sarcopenia, this led to very promising results from the Dundee team.  He has received over 35 research grants from the British Heart foundation, supervised over 40 MD/PhDs and published over 400 research papers



Professor Marion McMurdo - Professor Emeritus of Ageing and HealthCollaborator

Retired Professor and Head of Ageing and Health at the University of Dundee.  Professor McMurdo retired in November 2015, prior to this she led a multidisciplinary team of researchers examining the role of exercise, physical activity and nutrition in sarcopenia and age-related functional decline.  She is renowned for a highly successful track record in completing large clinical trials in frail older populations and has published more than 200 peer reviewed publications.





Professor Peter Donnan - Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Peter Donnan is Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Medical School Division of Population Health Sciences within the Medical Research Institute, University of Dundee.  He has 25 years’ experience in the design and analysis of Health Services and Population Research observational studies as well as randomised controlled trials of interventions such as drugs (steroids in Bell’s Palsy, NEJM, 2007) as well as public health interventions (screening for breast cancer, Lancet, 1990; weight loss program in male football fans, FFIT, Lancet, 2014). He leads the Dundee Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit (DEBU) and co-leads the Tayside Clinical Trials Unit (TCTU) which has UKCRC registration and has over 25 active trials.



Professor Alison Avenell - Clinical Chair in Health Services


Alison Avenell works at the Health Services Research Unit at the University of Aberdeen and is also an Honorary NHS Consultant in Clinical Biochemistry. Her main research interest is developing the evidence base for nutritional interventions, particularly by reviewing the evidence base and undertaking clinical trials. These trials include the MRC funded RECORD trial, which examined the effect of calcium and/or vitamin D supplementation in the secondary prevention of osteoporotic fractures. She led the MAVIS trial which examined the effectiveness of vitamin and mineral supplementation in preventing infections in older people, and helped lead the SIGNET trial of glutamine and selenium supplementation in critical illness.



Dr Paul Kemp - Senior Lecturer, Imperial College London


Dr Kemp is a basic scientist who leads a team investigating the mechanisms that cause muscle wasting in patients with chronic diseases, those on the critical care unit and in older people.  His group has expertise in measuring proteins and nucleic acids in the blood and muscle of patients. His interests in relation to the LACE trial are in identifying markers in the blood that identify people at greatest risk of losing muscle and markers that can be used to measure treatment benefit. These measurements are aimed at determining how treatment works and developing novel therapies.




Professor Jacob George - R&D Director of NHS Tayside and Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Dundee School of Medicine


His research interests are focused on three main areas:
• Understanding mechanisms how oxidative stress affects vascular biology and how it can be modified to improve clinical outcomes.
• Investigating the role of biomarkers in Cardiovascular Disease.
• Cardiovascular Risk Management.
His research publications have been covered by more than 50 news organizations worldwide and he has conducted more than 80 media interviews including live television broadcasts to national and international media on the results of his research. He is accredited in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics and General Internal Medicine and is an accredited European Hypertension Specialist. He is actively involved in Medicines Governance in Scotland, being both the Chair of the Medicines Advisory Group and Tayside representative on the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).