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International Clinical Trials Day 2023

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CRN Wessex Celebrates Trial Participants on International Clinical Trials Day 

International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated globally in May to recognize the day that James Lind, a ship’s surgeon in the British Royal Navy, started the first randomised clinical trial (in this case, to study the effects of different treatments on scurvy in sailors), on 20th May, 1774.

Volunteers are at the centre of every clinical trial, and without them, life-changing advances in healthcare would not be possible. That’s why the NIHR and CRN Wessex mark this important day in its calendar by celebrating the thousands of people who take part in, and support their trials and studies across the UK. People like Cathy Hill from the Isle of Wight, who is currently taking part in the PINNACLE trial,  a three year ophthalmic study into age-related, dry macular degeneration.

Cathy hopes that by taking part in the study, she can help scientists to find a cure for the disease and prevent others from suffering:  “The main impact MD has had on me so far is the feeling of dread. I am passionate about the great outdoors - I love the cliff walk on the Isle of Wight which is just a few minutes from our house.  I love to see the stunning bays and the sailing boats, holidaying families - all of it is just so wonderful.  I have just had a kayaking holiday in The Western Highlands of Scotland and I live with a terrible dread that I may not be able to see and do all these sorts of things in time to come.”

The motivation for Cathy to take part in this trial is overwhelming:

“Any part that I can play in research to help find a cure for this disease, can only be a good thing.  I would encourage anyone thinking about taking part in a clinical trial to 100% do it! It’s an amazing feeling to think I can help bring about life improving treatments in the future.”

Last year, 39,297 people from Wessex volunteered to participate in 731 health and care studies supported by the NIHR. These participants made a vital contribution to our knowledge and understanding of diseases and conditions including COVID-19, cancer, diabetes, mental health and dementia.

“We are enormously grateful to the thousands of participants who volunteered for clinical trials last year, and we hope that next year this number will grow even higher,” said Clare Rook, Chief Operating Officer, NIHR Clinical Research Network Wessex. “Our experience during the pandemic highlighted to everyone just how important health and care research really is.”

“For example, we really appreciate the incredible commitment shown by the wonderful volunteers who made it possible for research teams in Wessex to lead the way in essential trials on COVID-19 vaccines.”

“This is just one of countless examples where our participants have contributed to life saving treatments. We want to build on this incredible base, and encourage everyone, whatever their background, to be part of research - whether in hospital settings or in their communities.”

If you’re interested in volunteering as a participant in a clinical research trial, you can find out more by visiting: