The number of people taking part in clinical trials in Sheffield soared last year.
Professor Simon Heller, a director of research and development within Sheffield Hospitals, said there had been a 40 per cent increase in the number of patients involved.
He spoke as the city’s hospitals marked International Clinical Trials Day with a series of special events - something he said was partly behind the rise in people taking part in clinical trials.
Prof Heller said: “If we are going to progress treatment, it is essential patients participate in research, as well as receiving treatment.
“The best example I can give is how in the 1980s most people with leukaemia were expected to die. Today most people can expect to be cured and the reason is that a lot of people with leukaemia take part in trials so they are getting the newest treatments.”
New treatments for diabetes, cancer and multiple sclerosis are among dozens of trials – some world-leading – currently taking place in Sheffield. These also include giving diabetic children an insulin pump, so they can medicate with the push of a button rather than inject, and devices to help Motor Neurone Disease patients breathe more easily which are at the forefront of the field.
A bank of people without specific medical conditions is also being recruited for clinical trials in the city.
Prof Heller added: “People who take part in clinical trials, even if they take the standard rather than the new treatment, seem to do better. It’s not that they get any better treatment but it seems that perhaps by seeing the medical team more frequently, taking more of an interest in their condition or making sure they take their tablets, they do better.”
Clinical trial eased Stephen’s arthritis
Former mechanic Stephen Webster said he had ‘nothing to lose’ when he was offered a place on a clinical trial.
The 59-year-old dad had been diagnosed with multiple rheumatoid arthritis in every joint when he was given the chance to try a new type of ‘infusion’ medication, administered through a drip.
Stephen, of Firth Park,
said: “When I first signed up I couldn’t bend my fingers. All my joints were swollen up.
“After about two weeks on the infusion the swelling started to go down and I got movement back in my fingers.
“If I hadn’t had it my joints would be worse.”