Research Studies

Dedicated research staff support studies and at any one time there can be 300 active studies ranging from small local studies to those that are multi-site across the UK and worldwide.

You can find a list of active research studies on the Be Part of Research website run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

2020 was the year of coronavirus with National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) prioritising urgent research during the pandemic and the majority of research staff being deployed to assist with Covid-19 studies or with supporting clinicians on the frontline.

Overall, research active Trusts in the Eastern region last year recruited 1 in 40 of the population into research with NNUH amongst the leading Trusts.

Recruitment onto NIHR Eastern portfolio studies in 2020/21 was the highest recorded and in response to the pandemic, NNUH delivered high level performance on the Novavax vaccine study, which was set up at unprecedented pace and scale and also on the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP clinical trials.

During 2020/2021, NNUH opened 53 new research projects for recruitment of patients and 276 papers by our researchers were published in peer reviewed medical journals covering a wide range of specialities including oncology, gastroenterology, neonatal medicine, cardiovascular disease, radiology, diabetes and stroke.

Our Trust has four key strategic goals for research:

  1. Embed a culture of research throughout NNUH creating an inspirational environment that is recognised nationally and internationally, which inspires future leaders of clinical research
  2. Consolidate and deepen the special partnership with the University of East Anglia and Quadram Institute Biosciences
  3. Develop sustainable strategic partnerships critical to the region and wider NHS
  4. Be recognised as a leading NHS Trust in applying research and adopting innovation to deliver the best patient care and to benefit the wider NHS

The annual research report can be viewed here

MIDI: NNUH is currently carrying out a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) CRN (Clinical Research Network) portfolio adopted non-commercial observational research study called MIDI (Mr Imaging abnormality Deep learning Identification). This is a Radiology-led study with Dr Janak Saada (NNUH Consultant Radiologist) as Principal Investigator. The study is recruiting all adult MRI brain scan patients for any indication to use their routine scan to develop an Artificial Intelligence tool that can identify abnormalities on these types of scans. This will be extremely useful in the assessment and treatment of patients.

Neon: digital NErve. suture Or Not? is a NIHR funded multi centre randomised controlled trial. The NNUH are the 11th recruiting site to join the study team which aims to enrol 478 adults with digital nerve injuries to their fingers from hospitals across the NHS.  The study opened for recruitment at NNUH on 1 November 2021 and has already enrolled its first patient.  The study is being led by Plastic Surgery with Mr Nick Sheppard, Consultant Plastic Surgeon, as the Principal Investigator. Members of the hand therapy team (Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Therapy) are involved in the study as blinded clinical assessors. Their role is to assess the participants’ sensation and pain in the affected digit, 3 and 12 months after surgery. Further information on the trial can be found here: https://neon.octru.ox.ac.uk/welcome-neon-trial

NOLA: NNUH are currently carrying out the NOLA research study which is a multi-centre observational registry to develop ablation parameter guidance for microwave liver ablation of soft tissue lesions.  Microwave ablation is a treatment that uses image guidance to place a needle through the skin into a liver tumour. Microwaves are created from the needle to create a small region of heat. The heat destroys the liver cancer cells. Microwave ablation is an effective treatment option for patients who might have difficulty with surgery or those whose tumours are less than 40 cm in diameter.  This is a Radiology-led study with Dr Mark Lewis (NNUH Consultant Radiologist) as Principal Investigator. The study is recruiting all patients who undergo a CT guided liver ablation. This will be extremely useful in the assessment and treatment of patients. The data gathered will be analysed and used to produce guidance for doctors performing ablation procedures in patients with various liver conditions and liver lesion types.

Gynaecology Research:

Within Gynaecology, NNUH are currently recruiting to 3 studies which encompass a variety of different women’s health needs, all looking to benefit patient experiences and further our knowledge of various gynaecological conditions.

CERM: The aim of this research trial is to find out if antibiotics can reduce miscarriage. In some women the lining of the womb (the endometrium) is inflamed (Endometritis). Researchers have found a link between this and miscarriage.

ESPriT2: This study compares laparoscopic removal of endometriosis cells versus diagnostic laparoscopy alone, in terms of participant’s pain at 12 months post randomisation.

Neonatal Research: The research carried out at NNUH enables us to safely collect information, following strict regulations, to gain knowledge and understanding about how we can consistently improve and enhance the high standard of care all the babies on our unit receive. There are different kinds of research studies that your baby may be able to participate in. Some studies may include monitoring aspects of your baby’s care, while others may involve a few extra procedures.

If your baby is eligible for any studies, a member of the dedicated research team will approach you to discuss this.  You would be provided with all of the information about the research study and a full explanation would be given to you by highly qualified professionals.   The information gathered is carefully analysed and may result in changes to our practices in future care.  Choosing to take part in research might have benefits for your baby and it could also help to shape the future of specialised care for premature and poorly babies in the future.

Some examples of how research has improved our practice:

  • Kangaroo care – research on the benefits of skin to skin for baby and parents mean that we encourage this on the unit and support parents to be more involved with their baby’s care.
  • Surfactant – treatment identified to help babies with breathing problems. It has helped to save babies’ lives and improve long term outcomes.
  • Probiotics – research has identified giving probiotics helps to prevent babies from getting a severe gut condition.

If you have any questions or you would like to talk with one of the team please ask the nurse looking after your baby or alternatively, please contact the NICU research team: 01603 646106 or 07934508522

Further information

You can find out more about research studies and recent publications relating to specific clinical areas on the relevant department pages found in our Department A-Z. For more information about a particular area of research, follow the links below: