Sheffield scientists to showcase novel medical discoveries during International Clinical Trials Day

WORLD-leading researchers and scientists from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust and the University of Sheffield will be giving people in Sheffield and beyond a unique insight into how they can contribute to groundbreaking medical discoveries during International Clinical Trials Day (Wednesday 20 May 2015).

Dr Julian Gunn will be giving an insight into how trials into a revolutionary virtual heart prototype could represent a huge leap forward in tackling coronary heart disease, the UK’s biggest killer.

The event, Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Improving Lives with Clinical Research will include a variety of interactive talks, informative discussions and intriguing tours around state-of-the-art clinical research facilities.

Visitors can explore how clinical trials, which are responsible for the most significant medical advances for the past 260 years, are conducted, get an insight into keyhole surgery and learn about extraordinary health innovations when the University, hospitals, and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Facility at the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General Hospital, open their doors to the public. They will also be able to meet staff from Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust’s NIHR Clinical Research Facility to find out how pioneering research helps babies and young children too.

More than 14,100 patients took part in clinical research in Sheffield between April 2014 and April 2015. Their contribution has enabled many pioneering new drugs and treatments move one step closer from devastating diseases such as kidney disease and heart disease.

International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world to mark the day James Lind began his famous trial into the deadly disease scurvy in 1747. The trial led to the discovery that citrus fruits high in vitamin C could prevent the disease – paving the way for the development of specific vaccines to prevent diseases such as smallpox in the late 18th century.

Dr Julian Gunn, a consultant cardiologist from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust and Reader in Interventional Cardiology at the University of Sheffield will give a special talk between 6pm-7pm at the Medical School about his revolutionary clinical trial which could play a vital role in tackling coronary heart disease which is the UK’s biggest killer.

There will also be an opportunity for visitors to speak directly with patients who have taken part in clinical research, visit a number of interactive stands and have guided tours of the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Clinical Research Facilities, based at the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General Hospital, which are recognised by the Department of Health as units of excellence.

The guided tours of the NIHR Clinical Research Facilities will take place between 2pm to 3pm (Northern General Hospital, 1st Floor, Centre for Biomedical Research, Herries Road) and 5pm to 6pm (Royal Hallamshire Hospital, O Floor, Glossop Road).

The healthcare research showcase will be held between 7pm and 8pm at the University of Sheffield’s Medical School on Beech Hill Road.

Staff from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will also be running a series of awareness-events throughout International Clinical Trials Day, including in the outpatients area of Weston Park Hospital, the main entrance of the Jessop Wing Maternity Unit and within the diabetes, pharmacy, cardiology and A&E departments.

Alison Mortimer, Lead Nurse for Research and Development for Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:

There are lots of myths about clinical research, so we’re delighted to be hosting these events which highlight that without clinical research the care, treatments, drugs, operations and devices we use to treat our patients, would not exist.

International Clinical Trials Day celebrates the pioneering work James Lind began to improve medical care through medical research, and we’d encourage everyone to come down and find out more about the vital work we do with the University of Sheffield that helps improve lives so that they can ask their GP, nurse or consultant about how they can get involved.

Dr Tim Chico, Reader in Cardiovascular Medicine and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

Without clinical research the care, treatments, drugs operations and devices that we take for granted today would not exist.

Patients who take part in clinical research make a vital contribution to pioneering medical breakthroughs that lead to new treatments which could save thousands of lives.

Without these patients, scientists and researchers like me would not be able to tackle devastating diseases such as coronary heart disease.

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