Dundee marks International Clinical Trials Day

20th May, 2016

To mark International Clinical Trials Day on May 20th the teams from the University of Dundee and NHS Tayside were out and about encouraging local people to get involved in research.

International Clinical Trials Day celebrates the anniversary of the very first clinical trial, held in 1747 by James Lind, who discovered that citrus fruits such as limes could cure scurvy in sailors. Since then, clinical trials have led to major advances in medicine, such as cures for tuberculosis, effective treatments for heart attacks and strokes, plus important advances in the treatment of many cancers, such as leukaemia, breast, bowel and prostate cancers.

Staff from Tayside Clinical Trials Unit, the Clinical Research Centre, and SHARE are on hand in the concourse of Ninewells Hospital to tell people about the opportunities to take part in research locally, and to explain how such research is improving medical care.

“Finding new and better treatments for illness depends on clinical trials,” said Dr Miles Witham, co-director of the Tayside Clinical Trials Unit. “We are committed to helping researchers conduct the best possible trials, but to do this we rely totally on the goodwill of patients and the public, who agree to take part in our research.

“The Tayside Clinical Trials Unit is running 30 different trials at the moment, and there are even more studies run by our Clinical Research Centre, which currently supports 157 studies in which more than 2600 patients and healthy volunteers have taken part, and by colleagues in the Medicines Monitoring Unit.

“There are a wide range of studies you can get involved in, from improving muscle strength in older people, to testing treatments for diabetes, dementia, cancer, heart, lung, skin and liver disease. And it has never been easier to get involved – you can sign up on-line through SHARE and pick the sort of trials that you would like researchers to contact you about.”

110,000 people have signed up to SHARE, and in addition to agreeing to be contacted for research, the majority have also given permission to allow their left over blood from routine tests to be used for anonymised genetic research.

Dr Jacob George, NHS Tayside director of Research and Development, added, “Research, including clinical trials, is central to the work of the NHS – without research, the NHS simply couldn’t work. International Clinical Trials Day is a great opportunity for everyone in Tayside to find out more about the work that our local researchers are doing, and is also a chance to get involved and improve treatment and diagnosis for the next generation.”

University of Dundee News


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