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Patients play crucial role in clinical trials

23 November 2015

Patients were centre stage at a HRB event to showcase the clinical research infrastructure and trials taking place in Ireland as a result of an HRB investment of €100 million.

(L to R) Grainne Foley, Paul Lambe, Leo Varadkar, Graham Love, Diane Hanly

Paul Lambe was driving down the M1 when he started experiencing the first stages of stroke. He ended up being taken to the Mater hospital by ambulance. There, he became one of the first Irish patients to be treated with a new clot busting-drug which had just been verified on a successful clinical trial. He was then rapidly transferred to Beaumont Hospital where he had a procedure to remove the clot from his brain called a thrombectomy. As he described it himself, ‘I owe my life to the other Irish patients who participated on this trial. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them’.

Diane Hanly, a breast cancer patient spoke of the positive experience of being part of a clinical trial and emphasized the importance of communicating that positive experience to others.

Meanwhile, Grainne Foley, whose baby was diagnosed with a potentially dangerous growth restriction in the womb said she was delighted to have the comfort of extra scans as a result of being part of a clinical trial. Her baby boy was born weighing just 1lb 1 oz. Her son John, who is now three, is living life to the full because screening and interventions available at the right time through the HRB Perinatal Ireland study.

‘Research saves lives,’ said Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board. ‘The outcomes for patients in health systems that carry out trials are better. But patients are the real heroes when it comes to successful trials because without their involvement, these trials wouldn’t happen.’

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