On Tuesday 19 May, King’s Imaging & Biomedical Engineering Division took part in a showcase at St Thomas’ Hospital as part of International Clinical Trials Day, organised by the Biomedical Research Centre. The event (which usually takes place on 20 May annually) commemorates the first ever clinical trial, carried out by James Lind in May 1747, looking at how best to treat scurvy. The day is now marked all around the world to help raise awareness of and celebrate the achievements that clinical research has led to, and to engage with the public on important health research issues.
Imaging technology underpins modern healthcare and allows clinicians to ‘see’ inside the body to diagnose illness, make decisions about surgery and treatment, and to monitor the effects of treatment. Imaging Services support over 400 clinical trials across Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust, across therapeutic areas including cardiology, rheumatology, haematology, orthopaedics and cancer.
King’s Health Partners brings together researchers at King’s College London and hospital staff across Guy’s and St Thomas’ to work much more closely. This helps facilitate sharing of knowledge and ideas, enables new collaborations and ensure that research findings translate into real clinical practice to benefit patients as quickly as possible. It was great to celebrate some of the work taking place across the Division and the Trust, and to show how clinical research enables us to continue to improve services & capabilities.
Some of the research on show included 3D printed hearts which surgeons use to model and plan complex surgeries.
We used a ping pong ball voting system to ask people passing by whether on receiving an imaging scan as part of their care in hospital, they would be happy for the results of those scans to be shared for research purposes? The answer was a loud ‘yes’!
We spoke about various current research projects such as the TOHETI programme (Transforming Outcomes and Health Economics Through Imaging). TOHETI is a three year programme funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. Working across King’s Health Partners and together with healthcare providers across Southwark and Lambeth, TOHETI is addressing a variety of healthcare conditions to ask: ‘Is the right imaging test being performed at the right point in time to ensure the best outcome for the patient?”
The programme includes a combination of introducing and measuring change through clinical research studies and through service improvement work. You can read more online.
We also took this an opportunity to show off some of the exciting work we have been getting up to in preparation for mapping the Developing Human Connectome. We found the day extremely rewarding as it was such a great chance to engage with patients, staff and visitors, explaining our exciting work and how we are exploring the developing brain. Medical research is often perceived as a relatively inaccessible field, so we were really pleased with how interested people were as soon as they realised that we could explain the process of imaging and mapping in understandable terms.
With MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) being the main imaging tool of the project, but often unknown (and sometimes a little scary), we felt it was necessary to introduce people to our very own inflatable, life size MRI scanner. This proved very helpful in bringing the imaging process to life and explaining the ins and outs of the project. There was also plenty of interactive games for both children and grown-ups ensuring entertainment, learning and a good few laughs were had by all.