Press release: City among country's top performers for clinical research

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Patients at Southampton’s teaching hospitals have some of the best access in the country to the latest medical advances.

More than 18,000 people took part in clinical research studies at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust during 2017/18, making it the one of the top four centres for recruitment in England.

In addition, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network data also placed Southampton in the top 10 for volume of studies overall at 413, as well as the top 10 for commercial studies with 93.

“We are delighted to be among the top four recruiters to clinical trials as it demonstrates the role we play in bringing new treatments and technology to the frontline in the NHS,” said Christine McGrath, director of research and development at UHS.

“It is a great achievement for the organisation to be ranked among the country’s top performers in both volume and recruitment to clinical trials and is a clear indication to our patients that we are committed to remaining at the forefront of developments in medicine nationally.”

More than £100m has been invested in research across UHS in collaboration with the University of Southampton over the past 10 years alone.

This includes the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, which specialises in respiratory medicine, critical care, nutrition, microbial science, data science and behavioural sciences, and the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility, a dedicated centre for experimental medicine.

In addition, the NIHR Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre forms part of the Southampton Cancer Research UK Centre, while funding also covers the Wessex Investigational Sciences Hub, LifeLab, the Centre for Cancer Immunology, the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit and the Health Sciences Research Facility.

The city has recorded a number of significant discoveries, including studies which showed chronic diseases in adults, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, may be prevented by early interventions in nutrition, diet and lifestyle of pregnant women, infants and children.

This followed the work of Professor David Barker in Southampton in the 1980s which found the link between birth weight and lifetime risk for coronary heart disease.

Recent studies being carried out across the city’s hospitals include a novel contactless test which provides accurate natural breathing pattern measurements in asthma patients and a pioneering "train track" spine implant that could transform treatment for patients with scoliosis.

Other trials include a drug which could prevent sight loss caused by currently untreatable condition Stargardt’s and a new treatment for knee arthritis which involves injecting patients with a strengthened form of their own blood.

Earlier this year, a team led by Professor Chris Edwards, of the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, found drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis could halve the risk of developing dementia.

Posted on Wednesday 18 July 2018