Patient urges Leeds residents to ask about getting involved in clinical trials

Andy Forrest. Picture by Steve Riding.
Andy Forrest. Picture by Steve Riding.
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A recovering cancer patient who has taken part in two clinical trials wants others to sign up to support lifesaving research.

Andy Forrest, 52, from Otley, was diagnosed with cancer of the bowel and liver two-and-a-half years ago before agreeing to be part of a trial aimed at finding out whether clamping blood vessels to the liver in surgery aids recovery.

The father-of-one, who took part in a further trial to help anaemic patients in surgery last year, is calling on others to support researchers find new ways of treating people today, on International Clinical Trials Day.

Hospitals in Leeds are leading centres for medical research, they spend around £20million every year on trials and last year involved about 16,000 patients.

Mr Forrest, who is now cancer-free, said: “I was involved pretty much straight away, they asked and I was quite willing if it’s helping somebody else. They wouldn’t learn anything if they didn’t do these trials.”

There are around 200 cancer trials at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTH), while four surgical trials backed by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) are ongoing.

Louise Clark, surgical research nurse at Leeds St James's Hospital, speaking with patient Andy Forrest. Picture by Steve Riding.

Louise Clark, surgical research nurse at Leeds St James's Hospital, speaking with patient Andy Forrest. Picture by Steve Riding.

Professor David Jayne, an NIHR research professor working at LTH, is overseeing the likes of the ROLARR robotics trial which is investigating how a £1.7m robot can be used in rectal cancer surgery.

He said: “Trials are not just about cancer or drugs, they cover the whole of the medical arena. The NIHR runs the ‘OK to Ask’ campaign that really promotes and urges patients with all sorts of conditions to ask to be involved in research, as everybody ultimately benefits.”

Visit nihr.ac.uk/get-involved/ok-to-ask.htm for information.

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