Research news

What’s research ever done for us?

International Clinical Trials day takes place on 20th May and we are celebrating by taking part in a big event at the University of Gloucestershire’s Park Campus in Cheltenham earlier that week.

Our Research Team will be sharing information about our hospitals amazing work and how we are taking part in over 100 NIHR clinical trials and other studies.

The event takes place on 18th May and will include posters and stands and will culminate in a public lecture a public lecture looking at the history of medical research and the advances made in medicine following public participation, entitled ‘What’s research ever done for us…’ in the evening from 6pm. 

The public lecture will see several speakers discussing topics such as the first comparative clinical trial in 1747, the use of trials to change radiotherapy treatment methods and the imitation of nature to detect and treat disease. 

Our Associate Director of Research and Development Dr Julie Hapeshi has helped to organise the lecture as part of Research4Gloucestershire (a joint initiative between the university and the Gloucestershire health community). Julie explains why we are taking the opportunity to raise awareness:

“Over the years many improvements in healthcare have been driven by research studies involving patients and the public. This seminar will present some of the advances in clinical care that would not have been achieved without studies to find out what provides the best treatment option.

“The programme will comprise short presentations using examples of important health care developments to illustrate the role of research in improving clinical care for patients.

“We will start by celebrating the work of James Lind who ran the first clinical trial in 1747, which led to an improved understanding of scurvy, vitamin C deficiency, in sailors. This will be followed by three short talks about more contemporary advances in medicine. These include improvements in survival rates for people suffering from leukaemia, reductions in blindness linked to screening for diabetic eye disease and how adaptations in the delivery of radiotherapy for breast cancer are reducing damage to the heart. The final presentation will be a glimpse into the future with some new ideas for the early diagnosis of cancer.

“Advances in healthcare seldom happen by accident -they require the hard work of the researchers who plan and conduct the studies and the willingness of the patients who take part in them. This event celebrates their hard work and commitment and will hopefully inspire people to consider research as an option for their clinical care or to ask their doctor if there is a study for them to take part in. It is OK to ask about research!”

Diane Crone, Professor of Exercise Science at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “This public lecture will celebrate why research is important to improve all of our lives. It's an opportunity to find out how research is actually used in health services to make a difference to the treatment we all receive when we visit the doctor or go to hospital. There will be some great examples of how local people involved as research participants have made a difference to the lives of others by volunteering to take part. We hope that people will come and enjoy finding out about how research can make us all healthier and live longer!”

Everybody is invited to attend the event – tickets are free but booking is required. To book, please visit:

On-the-spot cancer screening 

Spinning out of a collaborative programme of work between University of Bristol, University of Exeter and Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Oliver Stevens has spent five years working in a team that have been developing clinical probes that could revolutionise cancer screening by enabling on-the-spot cancer diagnosis with minimal discomfort for patients and without an anxious wait for results. 

The group has developed a proprietary method of using small probes with fibre optics to direct laser light onto cells and to analyse the interaction of this light with the with the molecules inside. This provides a molecular 'fingerprint' to identify different cell types and cancerous changes within them. This technique, called 'Raman spectroscopy', can yield almost instantaneous results and is both faster and more objective than traditional tests, which involve sending surgically removed tissue to a lab to be analysed by a pathologist. It has been demonstrated to be at least as accurate as conventional gold standard pathology, but doesn’t require removal of tissue and allows immediate intervention and ongoing monitoring by clinicians. 

The technology could also have other clinical applications in future and the technique has already undergone extensive tests on human tissue at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with one of the probes set to begin clinical trials within 18 months. 

In the papersThe Telegraph, 23.03.16 

Cancer scans 'reduce risky operations'

Cheltenham General Hospital recruited 4 patients into a trial to use a scanner to check head and neck tumours following treatment with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

A study on 564 patients, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed 80% of them could be spared surgery by scanning instead.

Survival rates stayed the same.

On the BBC: 24.03.16

Taking part in the 100,000 Genomes Project

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one of a select group of hospitals taking part in the 100,000 Genomes Project. This involves collecting blood samples from certain patients and their relatives, to increase our understanding of certain cancers and rare diseases. We want as many of our patients as possible to donate blood, to help us improve patient care through research.

Find out more



The 2nd joint research event was held in November 2015 between GHNHSFT and the University of Gloucestershire looking at forging working collaborations between the two organisations within the area of research.  The attendees had a varied mix of research experience and expertise.  There were presentations on current collaborations and a speed dating type session where attendees had the opportunity to building working relations with members from within the county.

We look forward to opening this up to other colleagues in the future. 

For information on resource pages relating to specific specialalities / areas please follow the link to the Library Services Resource Pages 

2015 Newsletters