Surge in interest for NNUH eye study
A research project has received a surge of interest following the unveiling of a new machine at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).
Twenty-five patients have now signed up to the groundbreaking STAR study at the hospital to help treat the leading cause of blindness in the UK.
The Ophthalmology Research Unit began using the IRay machine in May, which is a non-invasive robotic radiotherapy device used to treat patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The NNUH is one of only five centres in the country to be using the device as part of the nationwide study, which aims to reduce or remove the need for patients to receive eye injections for their condition. The Trust is now able to offer this one-off treatment and for other hospitals in the region to take part in the STAR study.
Heidi Cate, Ophthalmology Research Unit Manager, said the team had received dozens of calls and interest from patients as far afield as Kent, Sheffield and Scotland since IRay was launched.
“The impact has been huge. We are the only Trust in the East of England to have the IRay machine and patients had to travel down to London before.
“It is going well, recruitment is increasing and is helping to make a big impact on the national study to ensure it is successful. More sites in our region are also looking to deliver the study, which will mean that more patients will be able to take part.”
“AMD affects the central vision and patients affected are desperate to hold on to their vision. It affects everything they do and how they enjoy life.”
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded study involves patients being followed up for four years, including monthly appointments for the first two years and annual reviews thereafter.
Two-thirds of patients taking part in the study will receive an active treatment, with the remaining participants undergoing a placebo.
For more information about the STAR study, visit: http://www.starstudy.org.uk