Patients encouraged to ask about clinical research

Parents are being encouraged to have their children take part in research at Kettering General Hospital. Pictured is nurse Sonia White with Matthew Letts and his mum Tracy, who are the faces of a new paediatric research programme.
Parents are being encouraged to have their children take part in research at Kettering General Hospital. Pictured is nurse Sonia White with Matthew Letts and his mum Tracy, who are the faces of a new paediatric research programme.
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The parents of children who need treatment at Kettering Hospital are being encouraged to inquire about the possibility of taking part in clinical research.

It forms part of a national “It’s OK to ask” campaign being run by the National Institute for Health Research in order to increase participation in important research work.

At KGH the campaign is being driven by the hospital’s first ever Paediatric Research Nurse, Sonia White, who joined the Trust in April 2012.

She said: “We would like to encourage people to find out more about clinical research. It is important that children and young people are given the opportunity to take part in research that may benefit them, or those that follow them.

“At KGH we work closely with the Medicines for Children Research Network that develops and supports clinical studies of new or existing treatments in children aged 0-19.”

Matthew Letts, 13, from Wellingborough, is a patient at Kettering General Hospital for a kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome which, at times, can cause a build up of fluid in his body.

As a newly diagnosed patient Matthew, and his mum Tracy Englefield, agreed to take part in a clinical trial which involves extended treatment in the hope that it will reduce the number and duration of the occasions when his body has relapses.

Tracy said: “About a year ago Matthew started to develop swelling in his legs and around his eyes. We visited our GP and found out it was nephrotic syndrome.

“When we found out about the chance to help with the research we were happy to help so that better treatments for the disorder can be found in the future.”

Matthew said: “I think it’s good to do what you can to help with research. Since I was diagnosed I have been on the internet researching my illness and chatted with lots of people in America and Europe with the condition. It makes you feel better to know that you are not alone and that things are being done to improve treatments.”

Consultant paediatrician Dr Harsha Bilolikar said: “Matthew is involved in a two year research project to see if a more intensive treatment and monitoring regime can reduce the frequency and duration of any relapses he might have with the illness.

“As a result his mother will do daily monitoring tests which will help us discover how effective this style of treatment is and if it should be recommended to other children in the future. Close monitoring and prompt treatment should also benefit Matthew’s health and well being.”

Sonia said: “There can be many benefits to taking part in research. Your child may be offered an alternative to the standard treatment or to provide information which is collected during routine hospital appointments to help children in the future.”

Anyone who wants to find out more about paediatric research in the hospital can contact Sonia White on 01536 491276 or email sonia.white@kgh.nhs.uk