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Research a hit in North Thames, data shows

Almost 150,000 people took part in research in North Thames in 2021/22, new NIHR figures out today show.

And every NHS trust in North Thames has taken part in research, according to the annual statistics data released today.

In the 2021/22 financial year, there were 149,347 participants in research. In the North Thames region, 1,188 studies were recruited to and of these, 317 were sponsored by the life sciences industry.

One research participant was Karen Hales, a mum of four from Essex. Karen, who had breast cancer took part in the TACT 2 trial at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust. The trial was looking at whether accelerating doses of a drug called epirubicin and including the drug capecitabine, instead of standard treatment drugs, might speed up and improve outcomes and improve the patient’s quality of life during treatment.

“I didn’t have any doubts at all about being on the trial,” Karen said.

“There were lots of leaflets and information to explain about it, but I trusted the doctors and was happy to put my faith in them and the research. I wanted to help move research forward and I’m an impatient person, so anything that sped up treatment was a benefit in my eyes. I like things done and dusted and wanted to get back to taking care of my kids.”

The NIHR Clinical Research Network helped 1,289,937 participants take part in over 4,600 portfolio studies in England in 2021/22. Of that figure, 28,193 participants took part in commercial studies sponsored by the life sciences industry.

Nationally, 51% (3,397 of 6,640) of GP practices recruited participants to NIHR CRN supported studies, providing more opportunities to take part in research at the first point of care.

Dr Sharon Barrett, Chief Operating Officer at CRN North Thames, said:

“On behalf of the North Thames core team, I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who made research possible - both participants and staff - in our region in 2021/22.

“Their efforts will help to build better healthcare for everyone, both now and in the future.”