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St. Vincent’s University Hospital calls for volunteers to test new treatments as Crohn’s disease continues to increase

20th May 2019

Hospital launches awareness campaign – Take Part – to improve understanding of clinical trials and encourage participation.  Monday 20th May is International Clinical Trials Day

St. Vincent’s University Hospital is recruiting volunteers to take part in a number of clinical trials in Crohn’s and colitis as well as a variety of other disease areas. Trials involving drug therapy, non-drug- treatments, psychological intervention or dietary are all underway and openly recruiting.

“Clinical trials are essential to the advancement of healthcare globally,” says Prof. Peter Doran Director of Research for St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group. “They not only improve treatments and health outcomes but they also contribute to the economy as well as generating significant employment across the clinical research sector.”

“There can be a lack of awareness about the benefits of clinical trials and a degree of inertia too” he continued. “We need to change the conversation a little – and the language. We need to provide patients with the information they need to take part and move the discussion out of the lab and into everyday life. Our new campaign, Take Part, is designed to open up channels of communication and make information much easier to get to. All of our current trials are now listed online, we’re producing user friendly literature which everyone can access, setting up regular information stands around the hospital and getting our staff and our patients much more involved. I would encourage anyone out there who wants to find out more to talk to their doctor, their consultant or simply pick up the phone and talk to us.”

A recent trial – published this week in the international journal ‘Gastroenterology’ by Professor Hugh Mulcahy, Consultant Gastroenterologist, St. Vincent’s University Hospital showed the role of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) in reducing psychological stress in patients with Crohn’s or colitis. “This is the first time we have performed a trial examining the effect of ACT on patients with inflammatory bowel disease and the results were significant.” said Prof Mulcahy. “The study showed that after only eight weeks of treatment, stress levels for patients in the treatment group were reduced by 39% versus those who followed their usual treatment (8%). The results are particularly important because they show that focusing our attention both on the patient’s mental health and their disease leads to better outcomes overall.”

Crohn’s, colitis and clinical trials
Crohn’s and colitis are on the increase with the number of cases in Ireland tripling in the last ten years. Currently 0.5% of the population suffer with colitis and 0.3% with Crohn’s which translates to 40,000 patients in Ireland living with the disease.

St. Vincent’s University Hospital is part of an investigator network called INITiative whose aim is to improve outcomes for patients living with Crohn’s and colitis. Led by Professor Glen Doherty, Consultant Gastroenterologist at St. Vincent’s University Hospital it includes over twenty specialist adult and paediatric gastroenterologists. The network, which was set up in 2015, allows better access to drugs that are in development by enabling Irish hospitals to take part in large international studies of new drug treatments and new surgical procedures for Crohn’s and colitis.


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