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Media Release

Date: 20 May 2019

RUH Trust research boosts medical progress

Researchers across the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust are celebrating International Clinical Trials Day to highlight the contribution their studies make to public health and advances in medical science.

The Trust has a strong reputation for participating in national and worldwide research, with nearly 2,500 people taking part in 348 research studies last year.

Dr Tim Craft, Trust Director of Research and Innovation, said: "Research is good for patients, who benefit from being treated in research-active hospitals, and research is good for the Trust. It helps to attract and retain high calibre staff, enhances the Trust's reputation, and is an important source of income."

International Clinical Trials Day marks the anniversary of the first clinical trial by James Lind in 1747 into the causes of scurvy on board HMS Salisbury. His trial consisted of just 12 men, grouped into pairs and given a variety of dietary supplements from cider to oranges and lemons. The trial only lasted six days but, within that time, there was a noticeable improvement in the group eating the fruit, providing Lind with the evidence required of the link between citrus fruits and scurvy.

A number of studies are currently underway at the Trust's Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, an internationally-recognised research hospital.

One is recruiting 'first degree relatives' of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. A first degree relative is a family member who shares about 50 percent of their genes with a particular individual in a family. First degree relatives include parents, offspring, and siblings. The study is looking at genetic, environmental and other factors to understand what makes people more likely or less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

Two others studies use smartphone apps – one to allow participants track simple information about their health, lifestyle activities and Ankylosing Spondylitis symptoms on a daily basis. The other is to allow remote monitoring by patients with rheumatoid arthritis for early detection of flare-ups in their condition, and to help researchers determine if patient-reported assessment agrees with clinical assessment.

At the RUH, clinical trials researchers are taking part in a national programme designed to build a UK-wide genetic database for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The Trust is helping to recruit 25,000 patients with Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, the two main forms of IBD, from all over the UK, allowing scientists and clinical investigators to further their research and help to develop new and better therapies.

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease are long-term conditions that involve inflammation of the gut. People of any age can get IBD, but it's usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40. There is currently no cure but there is a wide range of treatment options available that can help control symptoms.

Trust Research Manager Jane Carter said: "We are very grateful to those who take part in our research - many treatments that are used every day would not be available if it wasn't for people taking part in research in the past. "

ENDS
Notes to Editors

The RUH runs a diverse research portfolio which includes both commercial and NHS/academic trials. Many of the trials are looking at the causes, the treatment and the prevention of diseases across a variety of specialties including diabetes, stroke, gynaecology, maternity, rheumatology, surgery and many more. Overall, we have 25 specialties involved in research.

Some trials are randomised so that the patient either receives the new medicine/treatment or a placebo. Some trials are compared to standard care so that we can see if there is a new and better way of treating patients. We also run non-interventional trials looking at quality of life. We would always advise our patients to ask a member of their care team to see if there is a suitable trial that they may be eligible to be involved in.

Notes to Editor
  • The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust provides acute treatment and care for a catchment population of around 500,000 people in Bath, and the surrounding towns and villages in North East Somerset and Western Wiltshire. The hospital provides healthcare to the population served by four Clinical Commissioning Groups: Bath & North East Somerset CCG, Wiltshire CCG, Somerset CCG and South Gloucestershire CCG.
  • The Trust has 759 beds and a comprehensive range of acute services including medicine and surgery, services for women and children, accident and emergency services, and diagnostic and clinical support services.
  • In 2015 The Royal United Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust acquired the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) NHS Foundation Trust. The RNHRD treats patients from across the country offering services in rheumatology, chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, cancer related fatigue and fatigue linked to other long term conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
  • The RUH is changing - we have an exciting programme of redevelopment underway transforming our site and further improving the services we provide. The Trust is building a purpose built RNHRD and Therapies Centre and is now working towards a new Dyson Cancer Centre. For more details visit: www.ruh.nhs.uk/fit4future

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