New series to put Trust research in focus

The new series, called Research in Focus, launches today with the story of Covid-19 research at the Trust, told by those who helped to run some of the most important studies and trials of recent times.   

Research studies have been more important than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic. Improving our understanding of the disease and finding better treatment options for patients have been top priorities for scientists around the world. Imperial College Healthcare has been at the forefront of many of these national and international studies, including the RECOVERY trial, REMAP-CAP and the Oxford-led and Imperial College vaccine trials.  

Clinical trials run by the Trust and supported by partners through the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre and Academic Health Science Centre have led to changes in practice and new treatments for patients that have been brought into clinical care quickly due to the integrated approach to research. 

Emily Pickford is a research operations manager, usually working on oncology studies but in the first wave of the pandemic, she and her team were called up to support Covid-19 research. They helped set up one of the earliest randomised controlled trials, COVACTA, which looked at the use of drugs that could modify the immune system to treat Covid patients.  

Emily said: “This was quite a different way of working for us because it was all research teams across the entire Trust, and also the College, pulling together for one common goal – to deliver Covid-19 studies as quickly as possible. Research practitioners don’t tend to work in clinical environments so for them having to go up to intensive care units was a change in how we normally do things. 

“Research is how we get new treatments and it’s the only way that we can find new treatments. There’s no other way for us to continue to develop science and possibilities. It all boils down to research and we have to keep doing it to give a future to our patients.” 

Over the coming months, Research in Focus will place a deserved spotlight on the work of NHS staff on the frontline at Imperial College Healthcare who are vital to furthering medical science across the board, not just for Covid-19. From oncology to neurology, our research nurses, clinical trials managers, study PIs and junior doctors will share the story of their experiences and the impact their work is having every day for our patients. 

Read more stories about research at Imperial College Healthcare - Research in Focus.

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Find out more about the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre

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