MFT named top recruiter to research studies in England

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) is a top recruiter to research studies in England, including the number one recruiter to commercial studies, according to new report.

Nearly 19,000 people took part in research studies at MFT From April 2022 to March 2023, confirmed by new statistics released by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The 18,650 (from a total recruitment figure of 18,895) participants were spread across 1,377 NIHR portfolio studies – including 279 new studies which opened during that period – and placed MFT as the overall fourth highest recruiter in the country.

Throughout 2022/2023, the skills, expertise, and experience of MFT staff, coupled with its world-class facilities and hosted Research and Innovation (R&I) infrastructure across Greater Manchester (GM) has contributed to major global developments in the understanding and treatment of a wide range of clinical diseases, whilst supporting local and national post-pandemic priorities, ensuring patients from around the world are benefitting from MFT’s world-leading expertise.

R&I is conducted across MFT hospitals and local care organisations, covering general care and hospital specialisms, including; emergency care, respiratory disease, cancer, cardiology care, musculoskeletal disorders, genomics, women’s health and pregnancy, children’s health, eye health, and dental health.

Dr Iain McLean, Manging Director for R&I at MFT, said: “It is our mission to reduce health inequalities by ensuring research and innovation is accessible for everyone, and providing opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to influence, design, and take part in clinical studies and evaluations at MFT. Our research participants are regularly the first-in-the-UK, and very often the first-in-the-world, to trial new treatments and procedures that are only available as part of clinical research studies.”

From the total number of participants 1,235 were recruited to commercial research studies. MFT’s contribution ensured that participation in commercial studies across Greater Manchester was the highest in the country and follows-on from the major independent review of UK commercial clinical trials commissioned by Lord O’Shaughnessy published in May. The report featured a case study on Greater Manchester outlining how the region has “bucked the trend” in a challenging environment for UK participation in commercial trials in recent years.

Professor Rick Body, Group Director of R&I at MFT, said: “It is fantastic that Greater Manchester is leading the UK in commercial trials and that MFT has played such a huge role in this achievement with almost half of all the participants recruited to MFT Trials.

“Working with commercial partners is crucial to us addressing unmet clinical needs, adding value to current care pathways, and to the design and delivery of clinical research.

“Manchester has long been known for its ambition and innovation, and it is only through strong collaboration across the city-region underpinning an expansive and effective R&I infrastructure that we can continue to drive our research forward”.

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR, said: “The best health and care research requires a number of important elements to come together: world-class researchers, cutting-edge facilities and the generous participation of the public.

“As we celebrate 75 years of our amazing NHS, it reminds us that all three elements are firmly in place in this country, and that the UK as a whole remains one of the best places in the world to undertake clinical trials.

“We are so grateful for the continuing support of the many people who take part in research to help shape our future health and care. Thank you to everyone who has done so this year, and I hope even more people will be part of research in the future.”

Research participants at MFT

Mehrdad was the world’s first participant in a study to evaluate next generation COVID-19 protection, through the SUPERNOVA clinical trial at MFT. He said: “This research covers all types of people, with different backgrounds, and different ethnicities. I want to encourage others to come forward to be part of research, because it benefits the whole community.”

Esther is part of a trial for peanut allergy treatment in children at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Esther’s mum said: “We are so glad to have been involved in this study. When Esther began the study, she was having allergic reactions to 100th of a peanut. She now has the equivalent of a peanut every day.”