Clinical research specialties

Our research is delivered across a wide range of clinical specialities. Further details on some of our research-active areas can be found in the following sections:

The acute team runs a portfolio of studies across a diverse ranges of specialties – Accident and Emergency, Trauma and Orthopaedics, Anaesthetics, Critical Care, Stroke, Infectious Diseases, Ophthalmology and Dermatology. We currently run CTIMP, Device, and non-CTIMP studies which are both commercially and non-commercially sponsored.

The team is managed by Carrie Ridley, who can be contacted at carrie.ridley@bsuh.nhs.uk

The research team are embedded within the clinical areas, working alongside the staff delivering patient care. The research nurses provide specialist research care and clinical advice to patients/participants and carers with regard to their presenting symptoms and the clinical research.

The acute research team has a proven track record of recruiting to time and exceeding our overall recruitment targets. A recent achievement is recruiting to target to an early phase commercial CTIMP study in a rare patient group within the Emergency Department. We achieved our target thanks to the 3 dedicated research nurses covering a 24-hour, 7 day a week service.

Trauma

BSUH has the only major trauma centre in the South East and therefore sees the most severe and complex traumatic injuries in the emergency department and critical care. Research within trauma is a key area of expansion and we have already set up and run the highest recruiting study in Division 6 within KSS due to the frequency of patients presenting and our ability to respond to this demand at BSUH.

Dermatology

The dermatology research is undertaken within the dermatology department at Brighton General Hospital, where there is an expert multidisciplinary team including a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, oncologist and nurse specialist who provide care for complex skin cancer and run specialist clinics for a range of skin conditions.

Stroke

Stroke research is carried out on the specialist stroke unit where the stroke research nurse works alongside the clinical team providing specialist stroke care including thrombolysis, inpatient care and attending outpatient clinics.

Opthalmology

Our ophthalmology research is carried out at the Sussex Eye Hospital. This hospital is regarded as a national centre of excellence and continues to provide pioneering and innovative surgery and treatment.

Cardiac research became a key component of cardiology practice in Brighton in the early 1970s. Since the opening of the Sussex Cardiac Centre in 1999, research into cardiac procedures has escalated. Our aim is to produce reliable evidence comparing devices, medicines and strategies to offer the greatest benefit to patients with the minimum of risk.

The Cardiac research team is directed by Dr David Hildick-Smith and consists of two research registrars, a research manager, six research nurses and an administrator. We research all aspects of cardiovascular disease with an emphasis on interventions in Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery and Cardiac Anaesthesia. Key areas of interest include coronary artery disease intervention and structural heart disease intervention.

We have a strong national and international presence and lead many international studies for the UK. We have successfully bid for British Heart Foundation (BHF), Medical Research Council (MRC) and Health Technology Assessment (HTA) funding for studies and have an excellent publication record.

Along with our medical school partner, BSMS, we have set cancer as a key theme of our research strategy. We specialise in running phase I-III clinical trials in partnership with industry and academia. Our Clinical Research Facility is designed to support the administration of novel treatments and therapies in a safe, patient centred environment. We also have dedicated pharmacy facilities to support preparation of monoclonal antibodies and novel chemotherapy.

We have formed the Barts and Brighton Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) strategic alliance. This brings together two sites with complementary skills to create a centre of excellence that will facilitate the translation of basic scientific discovery into the delivery of novel treatments to patients with cancer. Specifically, this joint Centre will build upon the strengths of the existing basic and translational science units within Barts Cancer Institute and Brighton and Sussex Cancer Research Centre.

We recently joined the Myeloma UK Clinical Trial Network (CTN) which provides access to the most promising myeloma drugs in development and accelerates the process for approving new drugs and making them available on the NHS.

Alcoholic hepatitis

The research team comprises Prof Michael Peters, Professor of Applied Physiology, Dr Sumita Verma, Senior Lecturer/Hon Consultant Hepatology and Dr Jonathan Potts, Research Fellow. Collaborators include Prof Edwin Chilvers (Cambridge).This research has been funded by a £165,000 grant from BSMS.

Severe alcoholic hepatitis (SAH) is one of the most fulminant forms of Alcohol Related Liver Disease (ARLD) with a one month mortality of 30%-50%. Though an accurate diagnosis is essential to enable judicious use of medical therapy, clinically this may be incorrect in up to 50%, necessitating the need for a transjugular liver biopsy (TJB). However, this is an invasive procedure, and only available in specialist centres. Hepatic neutrophil infiltration is one of the histological hallmarks of SAH and is also a predictor of response to medical therapy.

Our research therefore focuses on developing non-invasive diagnostic and prognostic techniques in SAH assessing hepatic neutrophil migration utilising indium-111 (111In)-leucocyte scintigraphy. Our preliminary results suggest that indium-111 (111In)-leucocyte scintigraphy has the potential to become a novel technique for non-invasive diagnosis of this condition. This work has been presented nationally (British Nuclear Medicine Society 2013, British Society of Gastroenterology 2013) and internationally (American Association for Study of Liver Diseases 2012 and 2013). In addition we have also developed a preliminary technique for assessment of granulocyte survival in ARC.

We have also recently published [Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, (APT)] one of the first studies assessing long term outcomes in SAH. We found the estimated five year survival to be 31.8% with 65.1% of all deaths occurring after hospital discharge. Overall recidivism was seen in 65.1% with five year survival significantly higher in abstainers (75.3%) compared with relapsed and continued drinkers (26.8% and 21.0% respectively, p=0.005). In view of the significance of this research the APT editorial office and University of Sussex have both issued press releases.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection

In the UK about two thirds of individuals with HCV remain undiagnosed, and less than 10% of those eligible have received treatment. This has been attributed to difficulties in patient engagement as > 90% of individuals with HCV infection in England have history of substance misuse. Dr Sumita Verma (PI) has been awarded a £80,000 research grant to develop an innovative community based treatment model for HCV infection. The research is funded by the National Gilead Fellowship (£50,000), Brighton and Hove Substance Misuse Commissioners (£20,000) and Brighton and Sussex University Hospital (£10,000). Co investigators include Ms. Natalie Edelman (Centre for Health Research, UOB), Professor Helen Smith (Division of Primary Care, BSMS), Dr Hugh Williams (Sussex Partnership Trust), and Mr Charles Gore (CEO Hepatitis C Trust).

HIV related liver disease

The research team includes Dr Sumita Verma (PI), Dr Jonathan Potts, Dr Yvonne Gilleece (HIV consultant), Dr Janice Main (Reader in Infectious Disease Imperial College) and Dr Emma Thompson (MRC Centre for Virus Research, Glasgow). We are performing a prospective study to elucidate the underlying mechanisms for non-cirrhotic portal hypertension in individuals with HIV with special emphasis on thrombophilia screen, HLA genotyping and infectious agents. This research is funded through a £16,000 grant from the Clinical Investigation Research Unit, BSUH.

Other studies

We are actively involved in clinical trials assessing new HCV drugs as well as studies adopted onto the NIHR portfolio (Elucidate).

Brighton has one of the highest incidence and prevalence rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in Western Europe.

The HIV unit in Brighton is the largest HIV treatment centre in the UK outside London; the Claude Nicol (Genitourinary Medicine) centre has one of the highest attendance rates for STI screening and treatment in Southern England.

Therapy in the field of HIV/GU medicine is constantly changing; this change is largely due to high quality research and implementation of research findings.

Since 1988 the department has been involved in clinical research. The unit has a reputation for providing high quality data and participation in a wide variety of collaborative studies.

More recently the unit has broadened its activity to include more nationally funded projects in collaboration with Brighton and Sussex Medical School and the National Institute for Health Research.

Main areas of research

HIV treatment studies

  • New therapies to treat HIV
  • Strategy studies – how best to use the drugs available
  • When to start treatment

HIV prevention studies

  • Post Exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
  • Pre Exposure prophylaxis (PreP)
  • Understanding HIV transmission

HIV co-infection with Hep C

  • New anti hep C therapies

HIV and Ageing

  • Impact on future service delivery
  • Effects of HIV and Ageing

Sexual Health

  • Treatment for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Novel testing approaches for Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV

Examples of studies that we are currently sponsoring

EmERGE

Will develop a mobile phone application to enable self-management of HIV in patients with stable disease. This aims to demonstrate the benefits to patients and simultaneous increases in cost-effectiveness for healthcare providers, by reducing face-to-face consultations. Recruitment to this study is planned to start in October 2016. Further information can be found at http://www.emergeproject.eu

3 in 1 POOLED SWAB

Study to estimate the site-specific prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae at pharyngeal, urethral and rectal sites in men who have sex with men (MSM) and to evaluate the performance of pooling self-collected samples for the detection of these infections in one sample using the BD ProbeTec™ GC/CT Qx Amplified DNA Assay.  750 MSM in Brighton will have a set of swabs taken to diagnose their sexual health status individually and a second set of swabs will be pooled for diagnosis to evaluate the performance, sensitivity and specificity of the pooling samples technique.

Contact us

To find out more about the HIV / GUM Research Team or to express an interest in clinical research studies please contact:

Celia Richardson, Lead Research Nurse HIV/Sexual Health; 01273 523079

Useful links

Immunology and infectious disease research at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) seeks to understand the roles that immunological, genetic, pathogenic or environmental factors play in disease.

Our research focuses on two key areas with specific applications in our hospitals and in developing countries:

  • How our immune systems fight infectious diseases
  • Autoimmune and inflammatory diseases caused by the exaggerated activation of our immune defences

For further information, click here to go to the infection and immunology research site.

The Neurology Research team consists of Consultant Neurologists, Specialist Nurses and Psychologists, who are based at Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre, in Haywards Heath, and the Clinical Investigation and Research Unit (CIRU) at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

The clinical research studies that we are involved in are supported by the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network, DeNDRoN (the Dementias and Neurodenegerative Disorders Research Network) and the Surrey and Sussex Local Comprehensive Research Network.

Our studies cover a broad spectrum of specialist areas, including:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Motor Neuron Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment
The Ophthalmology department aims to provide patients and carers with the latest advances in care. One way in which we achieve this is through our involvement in clinical trials and other research studies.

The Ophthalmology Research team consists of Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeons, Specialist Nurses, Research Optometrist, Eye Clinic Liaison Officer and a Research Coordinator, who are all based at the Sussex Eye Hospital, in Brighton.

For further information about our research studies, please call 01273 606126 extn 4866.

Overview

Paediatric and Neonatology research is conducted within the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. The research is supported by a team of Research Nurses, Research Fellows, NHS Consultants, Clinical Academics and various support staff.

Paediatric research

We are research-active across several paediatric specialities, and examples of some of our on-going projects are:

The children’s hospital emergency department is involved in a number of the research studies, which is imperative when offering acute treatments for a number of different conditions.

Professor Mukhopadhyay and Dr Paul Seddon have a particular interest in Paediatric respiratory research, and run several studies exploring the physiological and sociological impact of having multiple allergies.

Neonatal research

Neonatal research takes place on the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU). This unit hosts acute local, national and international studies across several topic areas, but with a particular interest in the diagnosis and treatment of poor blood flow in neonates admitted for intensive care.

We are currently involved in the NEO-CIRC study, funded by a €5.99 million European Commission grant. This project has 18 partners in 8 countries, and further information can be found on www.neocirculation.eu

Another pioneering study that has taken place in the unit investigated the use of delayed cord clamping after birth. As a result of this research, the World Health Organisation now promotes the use of this simple intervention in the care of new-born babies worldwide.

Neonatal research helps BSUH to develop and sustain an ethos of patient-centred, evidence-based care. A pillar of the TMBU is to focus on the comfort of both neonates and their parents, with research looking into the delivery of pain medication, and also of the parents’ opinion on the studies being conducted.

Further information

If you would like any further information please contact one of our research team on 01273 696955 ext. 2396 or email us on paedneoresearch@bsuh.nhs.uk.