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Each year International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world on or around the 20 May. That was the day in 1747 that, a Scottish physician and pioneer of hygiene in the Royal Navy, started the first ever clinical trial.

James Lind's experiments were run under very different conditions to modern clinical trials. He was serving as the Surgeon on HMS Salisbury and his involved just 12 men, grouped into pairs and given a variety of dietary supplements from cider to oranges and lemons. The trial only lasted six days but, within that time, there was a noticeable improvement in the group eating the fruit, providing Lind with vital evidence of the link between citrus fruits and overcoming scurvy.

Clinical trials have developed a great deal since Lind's discovery, but today we remember his work and the importance of research in healthcare.

Here are just a few of the exciting projects supported by Kidney Research UK which could have a real impact on improving patient care:

  • PIVOTAL (investigating the optimum amount of intravenous iron that can be given to patients on haemodialysis to treat anaemia)
  • Iron and Muscle (assessing the impact of intravenous iron on exercise and physical capacity in patients with CKD)
  • Warm perfusion - developing and testing a new technique to revolutionise the way kidney transplant operations are done
  • NURTuRE – a kidney biobank to help accelerate new advances and unlock answers to some of the biggest questions about CKD and nephrotic syndrome
  • Research Matters: Get involved, make a difference.

Research, and clinical trials in particular, are vital in order to improve treatments and care for patients, and to help focus resources where they are most needed. Taking part in a study is voluntary, but many patients are unaware that studies relating to their condition are taking place in their local surgery or hospital unless they are actually approached by a doctor or nurse to take part.

Elaine Davies, Director of Research Operations at Kidney Research UK says:

Patients, carers and members of the public have such an important role to play through their contribution to research activities whether as a participant in the study itself or contributing to the design, implementation and evaluation of a project.

Find out how you can get involved in our research.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) have also re-launched their annual I Am Research campaign, to raise awareness and involvement in research among health and care professionals as well as encourage patients, carers and the public to get involved in research. This week hospital trusts up and down the country are hosting events to mark International Clinical Trials Day and support I Am Research. Find out what's happening in your area.

I am research

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