About our research
Clinical and biomedical research is essential for improving the health of adults and children and for developing new and improved treatments.
Our clinicians work alongside biomedical scientists, chemists, physicists and engineers from Imperial College London to develop new ways of diagnosing, treating and preventing disease. We are part of Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre and, with our partners, our aim is to apply research discoveries to healthcare as quickly as possible so we can improve the lives of NHS patients and populations around the world.
Research with impact
We conduct research into common diseases that affect large numbers of people and are acknowledged as global health challenges, such as HIV infection, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. We also conduct research into rare conditions that affect individuals and families.
Gene sequencing has the potential to transform the future of healthcare. By sequencing patients’ genomes we will be able to gain new medical insights into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of diseases such as cancer. This could allow us to deliver more personalised treatments to patients based on their individual genetic makeup. Read more about genomic medicine.
Our researchers work at the frontiers of medical knowledge – investigating health issues that might not be common today, but are likely to become more widespread in the future. We look at the safety and effectiveness of new treatments, how existing medicines can be used to treat different conditions, and develop our own drugs, devices and techniques which, through clinical research trials, become the licensed and prescribed treatments of the future.
Benefits for patients
To understand if new treatments and techniques work, we carry out hundreds of clinical trials and other studies each year. Studies rely on the willing participation of patients and healthy volunteers. All trials are conducted under controlled, safe and ethically-approved conditions which put the participant at the heart of the research.
Every year thousands of patients join our research studies and benefit from having early access to the latest treatments, and regular contact with specialists in their condition. Some studies are purely observational, rather than ‘interventional’. Observational studies look at people’s behaviour and how disease develops or doesn’t develop, depending on different factors, like changes in diet. Interventional studies involve trialling new treatments and techniques.
As well as participating in clinical research, we actively encourage patients and healthy volunteers to contribute to the design and review of our studies. Involving and engaging patients in this way has a positive influence on the success of trials.
- Find out more about clinical research studies currently happening at Imperial College Healthcare
- Find out more about taking part in a healthcare research study
- Become a healthy volunteer
Through our partnership with Imperial College London, we have a global reputation for excellence and advances in clinical and biomedical research which can be translated rapidly into the clinic. The size of our joint organisation and the breadth of our experience mean we attract some of the brightest and best clinical and biomedical academics to work with us.
Research is part of the fabric of our organisation and we have an extensive portfolio of studies across many areas of healthcare. At any one time, we typically have more than 400 separate healthcare research studies underway.
Funding for our research comes from government departments, charitable organisations, the European Union, and from commercial sponsors in the pharmaceutical and medical technology industry sectors.
We have a diverse range of clinical research facilities and infrastructure across our five hospitals.
We welcome approaches from commercial organisations who are interested in conducting or collaborating on healthcare research with us.
Nursing and midwife-led research
We also champion research led by nurses, allied health professionals and other ‘non-medical’ experts, which focuses on how we can improve the patient care and patient experience we deliver. In the last year nurses and midwives at our Trust have led research projects looking at: improving patients’ sleep; enhancing privacy and dignity for patients in hospital; managing back pain in patients; developing appropriate diets; and preventing and managing pressure ulcers.
Facts and figures
More than 700 clinical research studies actively recruiting cross 30 specialties;
- More than 1000 new clinical research studies opened in the past three years
- More than 13,000 patients recruited to NIHR Portfolio studies in 2014/15 (fifth highest in the country) and more than 45,000 patients recruited overall in the past three years
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