Research bids to end bad breaks

Strong base: Paul Dimitri
Strong base: Paul Dimitri
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MORE than 18,000 people took part in clinical trials in South Yorkshire last year - helping drive forward medical advances and standards of healthcare.

Medics in South Yorkshire’s hospitals and GP surgeries carried out 514 separate clinical trials in 2011/12 - on everything from new cancer treatments to cures for arthritis to cutting-edge virtual modelling.

Sheffield Children’s Hospital is one of the hospitals committed to driving medical practices - and in April appointed a new director of research and innovation to make sure the hospital is leading paediatric advances.

Paul Dimitri, the new director, has a strong base on which to build.

Last year 1,082 children took part in 155 different studies at the hospital, up from 845 the year before and 432 the year before that.

Dr Dimitri, a consultant in paediatric endocrinology, said: “The development of new medical treatments would not happen without health research and the very important contribution made by the families who volunteer for our research.

“Behind every discovery of a new medicine and treatment are thousands of children and adults who were involved in health research.

“In the last decade families at Sheffield Children’s Hospital have been involved in research that has led to the prevention and treatment of diseases that would have otherwise led to severe health problems or death in our children.

“Research is not just about new discoveries though, it is also about improving on the healthcare that we already provide to children, and about making sure that the treatments we are offering are safe and effective.

“We strive to be an international lead in paediatric research to ensure the best healthcare in the world for the children we treat.”

Research at the hospital spans a range of specialities including bone disease, genetics, respiratory disease, neurology, radiology, cancer and blood diseases, endocrinology and mental health.

The hospital has recently been handed a total of £1 million in grants for research into the treatment of bronchiolitis - a common winter illness in babies - the use of vibration plate therapy to prevent fractures in children, and the development of bone scanning to replace X-rays in the study of bones in children.

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, chief executive of the National Institute for Health Research clinical research network said: “This year nationally we recruited almost 600,000 patients, which was a fantastic achievement.

“We know from recent polls that patients want to see the NHS do research, and they want the chance to get involved.”