PATIENTS are being encouraged to take part in innovative clinical trials which could lead to medical breakthroughs.

Staff at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are looking for volunteers to assist research into cutting-edge medicines and treatments, including a drug which could reduce cholesterol levels by up to 60 per cent in patients over 55 who have had a heart attack or a stroke.

Mayur Patel, consultant in chemical pathology and metabolic medicine at the hospital, is working on the trial. He said: “This is a truly novel clinical trial. It is the first of its kind and differs from current treatments in that the drug only needs to be administered twice a year, as opposed to daily tablets or two-weekly injections. This is such a positive and we hope to see it being trialled on a number of patients in our Trust who are at risk of a heart attack and stroke.”

Research is essential for the development of new treatments and interventions across the NHS, which will greatly increase a patient's treatment choices. These have shown to improve mortality rates and earlier diagnosis and offer an excellent opportunity for staff to learn new skills.

The trust currently has 55 active, recruiting trials and over 2,200 patients in both open and follow-up trials in a number of areas including cardiology, paediatrics and diabetes. Anyone interested in finding out more about the trials available should ask a member of staff at their next GWH appointment.