About us

Improving patient lives with clinical trials

20 June 2019

Health Care

The Trust is involved in national and international clinical trials across various specialties, covering oncology, rheumatology, renal, cardiology, ophthalmology, neuro and stroke medicine, diabetes, sexual health and fetal medicine. It is currently playing an important part in over 100 studies. In the last year more than 1,000 patients participated in clinical trials at Southend University Hospital.

Patients who volunteer to take part in clinical trials not only play a more active  role in their own health care, but also access experimental treatments while helping others by contributing to medical research. Clinical research owes its success to the heroes and heroines who volunteer to participate. Below are some of their stories.

Graham Reeder

"I couldn't understand why my fingers started to swell and my hands started to hurt. I ignored it, thinking it was an 'age' thing. After my GP diagnosed carpel tunnel syndrome, things got worse. I couldn't sleep on my side or turn over in bed. I had difficulty getting in and out of my car and climbing stairs took a superhuman effort.

"About three years ago Professor Dasgupta asked if I would be willing to take part in a clinical trial for a new biologic drug.

"The trial was unbelievable. Blood tests, biopsies, scans all carried out by specialist consultants and experienced nurses. My condition was monitored throughout. After a great deal of data was collected, I was put on an intravenous infusion of 600mg of tocilizumab. I have this every four weeks.

"I've never felt better. No swollen joints, a couple of tender joints, and, with the aid of an electric trolley, I can play 18 holes of golf on a flat course. I honestly feel that, if I had not participated in this trial, I would not be as well as I am now. I am realistic enough to accept that I will not be 100% cured but life is very good at present."

George Daltrey

GeorgeNR29 (2019)

"I'm a renal patient and have been on dialysis for years. I was also told that my blood calcium levels were very high and could end up having an increased risk of a stroke or sudden heart attack. It was quite a scary thing to hear this especially since my kidneys had also packed up.

"I just wanted to get something that would, at least, take care of this calcium so I would have one less thing to worry about. It was at this stage that my renal physician told me about a clinical trial that could help reduce the calcium levels.

"So, it was interesting and a relief to some extent, to hear that a research drug could possibly offer me a solution to the rising calcium levels especially in end-stage kidney disease. I agreed to sign up to the clinical trial called CALiPSO. I completed the trial in March 2019.

"Throughout it my blood calcium levels dropped significantly. My standard care medication for my calcium was lowered in the same period. At least I can say for now that, with my calcium levels reduced, the risk of a stroke or heart attack may have reduced too."

Colin Smith

ColinNR29 (2019)

"Six and a half years ago after going to A&E with back pains, I was given an MRI scan and was told I had a tumour on my spine. I was fitted with a back brace and admitted at Southend Hospital the next day.

"I was told I had prostate cancer and that it had spread to my spine which was causing spinal cord compression. I was started on a course of radiotherapy to reduce the tumour in size and relieve the pressure on my spinal cord. I was then treated with hormone replacement therapy which I'm still receiving every four weeks.

"After a couple of weeks, I was sent home from hospital. It was at this time that I was asked if I would like to take part in the Janssen & Janssen clinical trial looking at the efficacy of an innovative drug for prostate cancer

"I've now been on the trial for three years. I have regular CT and bone scans, oncology visits and my blood test for prostate protein level has dropped considerably over this period of time.

"Since starting on the clinical trial, I feel so much better and my scan results are always good news."

For more information on participating in clinical research, contact the Research and Development Department at Southend University Hospital on 01702 43555 Ext. 8629.