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NIHR salutes TrialBlazers in Greater Manchester in new campaign to take part in health and care research

Almost 82,000 participants across Greater Manchester, East Cheshire and East Lancashire volunteered to take part in clinical research trials in 2021/22.

The latest figures have been released as people across the region are urged in a new campaign to take part in research which could one day save lives.

To coincide with International Clinical Trials Day, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has launched TrialBlazers - a campaign that recognises the life-changing contribution already made to health and care research by the people of Greater Manchester.

The NIHR is also calling on people across the region to be a TrialBlazer and help save even more lives by taking part in research trials in their local area. There are clinical research trials, on everything from COVID-19 to cancer and diabetes in Greater Manchester, in need of volunteers right now. 

The treatment and support those living with a disease or a health condition receive to help manage their illness or keep them alive is made possible by research. Anyone of any age can join the TrialBlazers and learn more about a condition which may affect them or loved ones, or to simply support health and care research.

TrialBlazer Stephen Marsh-Blades, aged 53, from Old Trafford, Manchester, took part in a trial which is helping researchers understand longer-term implications of the condition. 

When the fatigue he experienced had still not gone several weeks after testing positive for coronavirus, Stephen was referred to a specialist clinic providing support and assessment for people suffering from more sustained effects of COVID-19

It was during an appointment at the clinic that Stephen was offered the opportunity to be part of a research study looking at the characteristics and impact of long COVID. 

Stephen’s participation in the study involved undergoing a lung x-ray, a test for vascular eye issues and an echocardiogram. He was also asked to wear a heart monitor for 24 hours. 

Stephen said: “We’ve seen throughout the COVID pandemic how important it’s been for people to be part of research in order for us to have the vaccines and treatments that are now available to us. 

“I was pleased to be part of this study to help us learn more about long COVID and I would always encourage anyone who was interested in research to do it. And, in my case, I’ve also been getting a full health MOT on this study at the same time which has been very reassuring.”

How to get involved

Members of the public can support medical research for a particular condition or disease that they care about, access new treatments or learn more about a condition that affects them. They can volunteer for a trial by visiting and searching by location or condition.