Leicester’s Hospitals is celebrating International Clinical Trials Day on Thursday 20 May by launching a new research registry for local residents.
Leicester’s Research Registry will share opportunities to get involved in health research taking place in Leicester’s Hospitals, or being run with their research partners, such as the University of Leicester and Loughborough University, in their National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre, Clinical Research Facility and Patient Recruitment Centre: Leicester.
To sign up to the registry, potential volunteers need to be over 18 years of age, live in the UK, and have a valid email address. You also have the option to select if there are particular areas of health research you are interested in. You will then receive regular updates on all the exciting opportunities to participate in the hospitals’ research.
Opportunities to take part in research can be very varied, but may include:
- Completing surveys and questionnaires about your health
- Participating in a clinical trial, either as a patient or as a healthy volunteer – these can be to test new treatments, medical devices, or exercise and dietary courses
- Public participation, such as sitting on panels and groups to help shape research
Antonio was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January 2017. He had the prostate removed shortly after and is now on a trial to see whether taking regular aspirin after treatment for early stage cancer stops or delays the cancer coming back. He’ll find out whether he is taking the aspirin or a placebo (dummy-pill) next year.
He said: “I wanted to be part of the trial to help research, so we can find out more and improve things in the future. I was also happy as I’d be receiving more regular check-ups on my health.
“Trials unearth new things all the time. If researchers can learn things from me – to help others down the line – then that’s fantastic.”
Professor Nigel Brunskill, Director of Research and Innovation at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “We have had a huge outpouring of support for research at our hospitals during the pandemic, with many local residents coming forward asking how they could help us beat coronavirus. Some have taken part in a COVID vaccine trial, while others are helping us plan our research through our COVID Advisory Group and Young People’s Advisory Group. Their support means so much.
“We are now in a position to reopen many of the studies we paused during the pandemic and would like to share even more opportunities for local people to take part. It is only through research that we can develop better treatments and care, as well as improve diagnosis and prevention of disease.”
Past volunteers say they are motivated to be part of research for many reasons. These include getting the opportunity to try new treatments that are not currently licensed, or not available for general use on the NHS; finding out more about their condition to help them manage it; and increased health checks and contact with health care professionals to give them peace of mind.
While taking part in a research study might not directly benefit the participant, many people willingly take part to give hope to other people in the future. In the case of genetic conditions, the hope is that children, grandchildren and other descendants may be spared the worry of inheriting a disease that is not currently treatable.
Lauren was a healthy volunteer in a study about COVID antibodies in patients who require kidney dialysis. A healthy volunteer, or ‘control’, is a person who does not have the disease being studied to help researchers make comparisons.
She said: “I got involved as I hoped it would benefit patients and their care. I also learned a little bit about my own health which I wouldn’t have otherwise known – in my case whether I had produced antibodies after my COVID-19 vaccination.”
Leicester’s Hospitals has approximately 1,000 clinical trials open every year. Despite the pandemic over the past year the Trust recruited more than 31,400 volunteers into research. That’s double the numbers of the previous year.