PAH staff to host Clinical Trials Day at Harvey Centre

HUNDREDS of patients have benefited from taking part in clinical trials at Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust. One of those is Valerie Fitzjohn, who joined a clinical research study after suffering with psoriatic arthritis for years. The condition was so bad that by the time she was in her 60s she was unable to get dressed, prepare or cook a meal, or move without severe pain; and had virtually lost all mobility in her hands.

When a clinical trial became available at The Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust (PAHT) she only took a week to decide to participate. Valerie says this changed her life and she still can’t believe the astonishing improvement in her health.

Clinical trials have been key to better outcomes for hundreds of patients like Valerie at Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust – could you be one of those? Find out how you can take part and help in discovering new treatments, as clinical research is crucial for discovering better treatments to help future generations of patients. You can find out how important it is at Harlow’s Harvey Centre next week and how the research at your local hospital is part of the world-wide search for new treatments.

The PAHT research and development team will be marking International Clinical Trials day on Monday 20 May, with a stand at the shopping centre between 10am and 2pm.

Many people are not aware that their local hospital holds clinical trials. In fact in the past year 948 participants were recruited into research studies at PAHT, and the research, development & innovations department are actively involved in over 80 studies, in almost every specialty. These range from observational studies looking at the long-term effects of particular drugs, interventional studies assessing the effectiveness of new investigational medicinal products not currently on the market, to drug studies testing new treatments for various conditions. Evidence shows that patients are more likely to have better outcomes in hospitals that are actively involved in research.

Local people can find out how they can take part and help in discovering new treatments and how the research at your local hospital is part of the world-wide search for new treatments. Clinical research is crucial for discovering better treatments to help future generations of patients.

Valerie explained her involvement in the trial. “I was very incapacitated in my daily living, and in constant pain. I had to have adapted equipment for work and I had a stick to get about.”

As a print maker Valerie was unable to hold a paint brush or the tools of her trade. Doctors tried numerous treatments, but she found they did not ease her condition and had serious side effects. Unaware that the hospital has a very successful research department, Valerie was informed at a regular clinic about a trial at the hospital for a new drug for her condition, and invited to take part.

The trial involved a first injection at the hospital; she was then shown how to perform the injection herself at two-week intervals. She says that she was astounded at the improvement by the time she had her third injection and admits that the results have been near miraculous.

Three years after her first injection, she has restored mobility and can more easily manage pain. She has started walking for pleasure again, and in fact has taken up speed walking, managing an amazing five mile course. She has gone back to painting – and is in the process of completing a mural in Harlow. She proudly points to a picture of herself on a ladder, paints at the ready. “When I had to roll myself to the bathroom when the psoriatic arthritis was at its worst I could never have envisaged myself climbing a ladder”

Val says: “This has given me my life back.”

She says she is thankful for the chance this gave her, and is keen to show others how taking part in clinical research can help them. She is full of support for the research team at the hospital and is joining them in saying: come and find out how taking part in a clinical trial could help you and others.

Nikki Staines, lead research nurse, said: “Come and speak to our research team to find out how your local hospital is carrying out research to improve healthcare, and see how you could help. This means that if you are interested in participating in a research study and you meet the relevant study criteria, you could help the
NHS further improve our healthcare for you, your friends and family.

“International Clinical Trials Day is a celebration of research in the NHS, and a chance to promote better understanding of the research agenda. Come and join our research team in the Harvey Centre to find out what research is active in your local hospital right now and the difference this makes to you and your relatives.”

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