THOUSANDS of people have given up their time to help researchers develop pioneering treatments.
Clinicians and research scientists at Queen Alexandra Hospital are celebrating after seeing 10,000 volunteers take part in the last year alone.
When the scheme started 10 years ago just 700 people enrolled.
Professor Anoop Chauhan, director of research at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘This is a massive increase in patient participation compared to the 700 who enrolled when we started the programme 10 years ago.
‘We want a situation in which every patient in Portsmouth has the opportunity to receive medical treatment as part of research. The more research we do the greater likelihood we find answers and new treatments.’
Chief executive Mark Cubbon said: ‘Clinical research trials are essential. The more we engage in research the better we become at diagnostics and the provision of new drugs and treatments.
‘The fact we now have 10,000 patients involved is testament to the benefits of providing new innovative treatments.’
One of the key areas in which Queen Alexandra has been leading the way is through its research into rheumatoid arthritis – where it has received recognition by being handed the coveted Global First status.
The trial looks at the use of blood tests to identify patients who will develop rheumatoid arthritis before they display any symptoms.
Consultant and research lead, Dr Ernest Wong, said: ‘We have been given Global First status as we were the first hospital sanctioned to run this trial and also currently have the largest number of participants.
‘The tests will enable us to identify if a patient will develop the condition in the next five years. This allows us to provide early treatments and reduce the effects of the condition.’
Other areas of research include the development of robots to carry out operations, an injection to treat asthma and an ongoing trial looking at the use of iPads to externally assess patient’s vital signs.
The University of Portsmouth has been involved. Matthew Gummerson, partnership facilitator, said: ‘The university was keen to become involved as it fits with their mission of supporting the local community.
‘Whilst the project has obviously involved the Faculty of Science it has also incorporated the schools of sports, technology and business.’