National clinical research award for haematology team

After opening up more than 20 commercial studies to recruitment in just three years, the Haematology Research team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB), part of founder member University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), has been recognised with an NIHR award.

Biruk Asfaw, Haematology Senior Research Nurse, and his team received the ‘Commercial Research’ Recognition Award at the NIHR Clinical Research Network West Midlands Cancer Annual Meeting.

Many of these trials provide pioneering treatments for patients who have exhausted all other available treatments.

The trials, which have the potential to be practice-changing, cover a range of haematological conditions including leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and amyloidosis, as well as rarer conditions.

These trials are often complex to deliver – especially as they are often run across several sites – and require a dedicated team to work together.

At QEHB, the team are based in the Centre for Clinical Haematology, and see patients across the hospital site, with the Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU) also available when required.

“I was delighted to receive the award, on behalf of the haematology team here at QEHB,” said Biruk.

“Our team of nurses, trial coordinators and data managers have worked tirelessly over the last few years to make UHB a first choice for commercial studies.

“The team looks after our patients, making sure their journey through a clinical trial is as smooth as possible.

“Several big pharmaceutical companies have a number of studies ongoing with us, as they know how experienced we now are in delivering trials.

“We’re now in a position to choose the most pioneering trials to get involved in, and we try and look for studies that offer the lowest risk and the best possible outcomes.”

An upcoming trial is likely to feature engineered genes infused back into a patient’s body, making UHB one of the first trusts in the country to undertake innovative trials of this nature.