The Haematology Research team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB), part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), were recently recognised for their work on commercial trials.

Biruk Asfaw, Haematology Senior Research Nurse, and his team received the ‘Commercial Research’ Recognition Award at the NIHR Clinical Research Network West Midlands Cancer Annual Meeting.

Over the last three years, the Haematology team at QEHB have opened over 20 commercial studies to recruitment at QEHB.

Many of these trials provide pioneering treatment options for patients who otherwise have exhausted all treatment avenues. The trials have the potential to transform patient’s quality of life as well as change current practice.

The trials cover a range of haematological conditions including leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and amyloidosis, as well as other rare haematological conditions.

These trials are often complex to deliver and require a dedicated team to work together.

The team are based at the newly refurbished and expanded Centre for Clinical Haematology facility which was funded by the GBSLEP and Cure Leukaemia. Cure Leukaemia’s funding of specialist research nurses within the team has meant the charity has played a major role in this success.

“I was delighted to receive the award, on behalf of the haematology team here at QEHB,” said Biruk.

“Our team of nurses, trial coordinators and data managers have worked tirelessly over the last few years to make UHB a first choice for commercial studies.

“The team looks after research patients, making sure their journey through a clinical trial is as smooth as possible.

“Several big pharmaceutical companies have a number of studies ongoing or expressed an interest to work with us, as they know how experienced we now are in delivering trials at the highest standard

“As a result we’re in a position to choose the most pioneering trials that we think offer the lowest risk and the best possible outcomes.”

An upcoming commercial trial is likely to feature a rapidly emerging CAR T cell Therapy: collecting and using patients own immune cells to treat their cancer making UHB one of the first few Trusts in the country to undertake innovative trials of that nature.