Patients Benefit from Increase in Clinical Research Across Forth Valley

Local patients across Forth Valley are benefitting from access to a wide range of clinical trials following a significant increase in the number of research projects taking place.

NHS Forth Valley’s Clinical Research Team is currently supporting more than 100 different research trials in areas such as cancer treatment, cardiology, dementia, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, women’s health, gastroenterology, mental health, paediatrics and surgery.

Anne Todd, NHS Forth Valley’s Trials Practitioner and Team Lead, said: “Providing patients with the opportunity to participate in a wide range of research can directly influence current practice and improve future care, including the development of new treatments.

“We are extremely thankful to all the participants, staff and services who support research in NHS Forth Valley as, without their participation and local collaboration, we would not be able to offer as many research opportunities to those living in and around Forth Valley.”

NHS Forth Valley is the only site in Scotland to join a UK study to evaluate the use of a urine test which could help detect womb cancer in three hours. Detecting the cancer marker MCM5 (Minichromosome Maintenance Complex Component 5) in urine, could reduce the need for more invasive procedures like biopsies in women suspected of having the disease.

It was also the first NHS organisation in the UK to recruit participants to a new clinical trial which could help adults with early onset or mild dementia. Using specialist headsets which record EEG brain waves, participants are asked to carry out a variety of tasks and short ‘games’ to test memory, language, fluency, attention and overall concentration. They also wear a special headband at night to record EEG brain waves and monitor the quality of their sleep over the course of a year.

Other studies underway include:

  • ORION-4 – an international study assessing the effects of the drug Inclisiran on outcomes for people with a certain type of cardiovascular disease. Recruitment started in January 2023 and participants will be followed for the next five years, with the aim of reducing their risk of heart attacks and strokes.
  • The Sunflower Study – which aims to establish the clinical and cost effectiveness of different approaches to the treatment of patients with gallstones. Since this study started, 112 participants have participated, exceeding the initial target of 50 and achieving a recruitment rate of 224%.
  • The OPTIMA research trial – which uses genetic testing to determine whether some patients with breast cancer require chemotherapy after surgery, with an aim of reducing the use of unnecessary treatment.
  • The Refine-Lung trial – is investigating the benefits of reducing the frequency of immunotherapy in patients with a certain type of lung cancer.