Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust sees huge increase in clinical research

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has seen one of the biggest rises in the number of research studies it is offering to its patients, according to a national league table of NHS research activity published by the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network today (Tuesday 26 October).

Steven Storey, who earlier this year featured on BBC Panorama after a pioneering MS stem cell treatment being trialled at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital restored sensation in his body within a few days of the transplant.

The new statistics reveal that the Trust increased the number of clinical research studies it undertook by 20% in 2015/16 – the fifth-highest surge in the country.

More people also took part in clinical research run by the Trust than over the same period during the previous year, with 8,587 patients taking part in research studies run by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2015/16 compared to 7,786 in 2014/15.

Clinical research plays a key role in helping doctors and clinicians better understand how diseases work, and it is through this process that new treatments, devices or care that may one day become part of routine NHS care are tested. Not only can these bring immediate benefits to patients – but they can also pave the way for new technologies and treatments to be introduced on a wider scale.

The 2015/16 NHS Research Activity League Table is published by the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network, the research delivery arm of the NHS.

Professor Simon Heller, Director of Research and Development and Honorary Consultant Physician at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, said:

We are delighted to have been named as one of the top-performing Trusts in the country for improving access to clinical research. Clinical research is vital in helping to drive improvements in healthcare and, and by increasing the number of research studies we offer to patients our doctors and clinicians can shed new light on diseases and test new technologies and treatments that could pave the way for the next medical breakthrough.

This year, clinical research run by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust hit the headlines when a groundbreaking stem cell treatment for patients with multiple sclerosis was featured on BBC Panorama. The treatment, which is called autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT), has been shown to reverse the effects of the disease in a small number of patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis disease who have failed to respond to standard therapies. The Royal Hallamshire Hospital is the only UK site involved in the major international clinical trial investigating the potential benefits of the treatment.

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, Chief Executive Officer of the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network, said:

This year’s NIHR league table shows every NHS trust in England is now research active, and that over 60% increased their research activity last year. Evidence clearly shows research active trusts have better patient outcomes, with 605,000 people across England participating in research in the NHS in last year the outlook is very encouraging.

“The league table results are a great achievement for all involved, and highlight the growing commitment to research from the NHS and patients.”  

The number of studies run in partnership with industry increased by nearly 40%.

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