Weekend Diagnosis: Clinical trials play a key role in discovering new treatments

Published: 13 May 2016

Mairead McAlindenThis Weekend Diagnosis is from Mairead McAlinden, our Chief Executive

Have you ever thought about taking part in a clinical trial? Is it something you would be interested in finding out more about?

If so, I’d like to invite you to come along to our clinical research open day on Friday, May 20, at the Horizon Centre, Torbay Hospital, where you can find out about clinical research in the NHS, including what trials we are undertaking, who can take part and why they are so important.

Clinical trials play a key role in discovering new treatments for diseases and conditions, in finding new ways to detect, diagnose and reduce the risk of disease and in making sure we use existing treatments in the best way possible.

At Torbay Hospital we carry out around 250 research studies on a range of different conditions and diseases. We are a major player in clinical research, but we need local people to work with us.

In 2015/16, we recruited more than 1,500 patients into clinical trials and there are a further 150 studies which need more recruits.

Many people are unaware of this local opportunity to take part in clinical trials unless they are approached by their own doctor or nurse, and so this open day is a way for us to raise awareness and to let people know it’s OK to ask about clinic research.

We hold the annual open day in conjunction with the National Institute for Health Research, and we are holding it on International Clinical Trials Day, which commemorates the first ever clinical trial. This trial was conducted by Scottish physician James Lind in 1747 and resulted in the discovery of citrus fruit as a cure for the deadly disease scurvy.

On Friday, May 20, between 11.30am and 1pm, you can come and to the Horizon Centre at Torbay Hospital and see a variety of information display stands — you can even take part in a fun chocolate trial. There will be a buffet lunch from 1pm followed by a few words from myself and from our director of research and development, Dr Fiona Roberts.

There will then be four short presentations from some people who have taken part in clinical trials for diabetes, stroke, cardiology, dementia and rheumatology, and you can hear about their experience and ask them questions.

Why not come along, there’s no need to book — my research colleagues and I would love to see you there. For further information, call 01803 656635.