Leicester researchers open doors for International Clinical Trials Day

Research teams at Leicester’s Hospitals are giving members of the public an opportunity to experience first-hand some of the clinical trials they run. The open afternoon is taking place on Wednesday 23 May in the Research Space at the Leicester Royal Infirmary to mark International Clinical Trials Day.

Visitors to the event can: 

  • Take part in ‘action research’ by putting on an ‘ageing suit’ and trying to perform tasks, such as opening jam jars
  • Get competitive with the ‘dexterity test’ to compare their hand-eye co-ordination with other people
  • Re-enact some of the tests our research participants undertake, such as blood pressure measurements, body composition, handgrip strength
  • Experience a cognitive assessment, as used in trials for patients with dementia or concentration problems
  • Talk to researchers about their latest findings
  • See how basic laboratory techniques are performed
  • Watch a demonstration on how our skin cameras work
  • Experience our Virtual Reality headset, 3-D distraction unit, interactive floor projection and all the other ways we ease our youngest participants through clinical trials
  • Meet a research participant to find out first hand why they have taken part in clinical trials

Professor Nigel Brunskill, from our Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation and Director of Research and Innovation at Leicester’s Hospitals said: “We would like to encourage patients, carers and the public to support the NHS by getting involved in research. Today is about showing some of the different types of research we do that can lead to improvements in patient care and developments in life-saving treatments.

“It is also an opportunity to thank our researchers for their hard work and commitment to improving the lives of our patients in this important 70th anniversary year of the NHS. It is exciting to think about how research that is happening now will change the ways we care for patients over the next 70 years.”

Research Space, which is found on level 0 in the Balmoral building, will be open from 12 noon until 3pm. 

International Clinical Trials (ICT) Day is an annual event held on or close to 20 May. The date was chosen in recognition of James Lind, a naval surgeon who conducted the first recorded clinical trial on 20 May 1753. 

Members of Lind’s crew were suffering from scurvy, which is a disease that causes swollen, bleeding gums and previously healed wounds to open. Lind created a trial where he divided the sailors into different groups and gave them specific items to eat and drink. 

The group that had been given oranges and lemons had practically recovered in just five days, leading to his theory that citrus fruit cured the disease. Later discoveries of vitamin C confirmed this was the chemical in citrus fruit that cured the illness.

The Research Open Day is a joint initiative between Leicester’s Hospitals, the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre and the NIHR Leicester Clinical Research Facility. It is part of a national network of events held on ICT day that are supporting the NIHR’s campaign ‘I Am Research’ to get more people engaged with clinical research.