Improving patient lives with clinical trials
20 June 2019
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
"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
"About three years ago Professor Dasgupta asked if I would be
willing to take part in a clinical trial for a new biologic
"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."
"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
"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
"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.