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Clinical Trials at Sheffield Children’s

Clinical trial day team
20 May 2021

Here at Sheffield Children’s the Clinical Research Facility Team in the Directorate of Research & Innovation are busy working across a number of clinical trials year round. Whether it is a drug trial exploring new therapies for diabetes patients or immunotherapy trials for children with a peanut allergy – our research team is working hard to help deliver studies that aim to improve quality of life, develop solutions for new methods of therapy and gain a greater understanding as to how we can best support the children and young people that we treat to lead the best lives they can. We are very grateful for all the patients and families who support our research! We simply couldn’t do it without them!

For this International Clinical Trials Day we spoke to a number of people across the Trust who have key roles in the delivery of research at our Trust and who aim to give the children and young people we treat the best experience of research that we can. We hope the research that we run today will make a huge difference to patients and families in the future.

Dr Nic Jay on our allergy trials

Dr Nic JayDr Nic Jay, Consultant Paediatrician Respiratory and Allergy, is part of the research team working on not one but four international studies for peanut immunotherapy!

She said: “Allergy is a rapidly growing speciality in research due to the significant increase in children with the tendency to develop certain allergic reactions (Atopic conditions), especially food allergy. At the moment, we don’t have a clear understanding of why this is, and research is needed to develop our knowledge and prevent this from happening.

“This increase means we also need to have treatment for children who already have allergies, and the studies I have been involved with are trying to reduce harm from peanut allergy so that children have a better quality of life with reduced risk from accidental exposure. The treatment we’re developing may mean that in a few children, the peanut allergy may completely go away.

“We are very lucky to have been chosen to work with the international group developing these strategies and it is thanks to the fantastic multi-disciplinary allergy team we have at Sheffield Children’s, as well as the research facility, that we’re able to take part.”

Paula Froggatt, Clinical Research Nurse

Paula Froggatt profilePaula Froggatt, Clinical Research Nurse, also works on the allergy research, she said: “I came to research having worked as an Allergy Nurse Specialist, knowing that there were a number of upcoming Allergy Research projects. As peanut allergies in children have been increasing, the prospect of being involved in studies looking at potential treatments was both inspiring and exciting.

“I currently work across all the Allergy Immunotherapy studies and have had the pleasure of seeing first-hand the difference that these studies are making children both in Sheffield and the wider community.

“I would say that the best part of my job is seeing the children and families that participate in the studies during their visits. They are fully committed to the studies and are always happy to see us, and it never hurts to be able to play games whilst you’re at work!”

The immunotherapy trials are detailed here:

  • Peanut oral immunotherapy study of early intervention for desensitisation, Sheffield Children’s is one of only 23 places in the world recruiting for the study!
  • Peanut patch study – we are one of five centres in the UK. Find more about the EPITOPE and EPOPEX study here.

To be involved in an allergy study, children are identified through the allergy clinic and on occasion, families have found us through looking for studies.
As well as the studies looking at immunotherapy for peanut allergies, the allergy team have been involved in the BEEP study. This received international praise after being published in the Lancet – you can read the piece here.

Diabetes clinical trial

Lynne Hardy Azevedo front, Arianna Bellini middle and Bee O’Shea backBee O’Shea, Paediatric Clinical Research Nurse in our Clinical Research Facility, explains the study: “The Protect Trial is for newly diagnosed diabetic children between eight and 17 years old.

“Families have travelled from all over the UK to take part in the trial, as Sheffield is the only Clinical Research Facility in the UK which is open for it. It’s an intense two weeks but the kids are predictably amazing.

“It’s a privilege to be part of this critical time for a child and their family as they’ve been newly diagnosed, I feel that I am really able to engage with the children and practice nursing the way I want to – using play, involving the children in decision making about their care, and giving them time!

“Being a Research Nurse complements my background of Emergency Department Nursing, it is different each day, and I am able to develop my clinical skills as well as utilising organisational and communication skills.

“I love working with different medical and surgical teams across the Trust to deliver trials which have the potential to change children’s lives.”

You can find out more about this specific trial, here.

Our other studies

Arianna BelliniArianna Bellini, Paediatric Research Nurse, is currently working on achondroplasia studies, she said: “These studies are international, and we are helping to make the Sheffield Children’s Clinical Research Facility a world leading centre for children with this condition.

“The families that we work with are enthusiastic and committed. Not only are they giving an opportunity to their children but also providing new vital information for the children of the future.

“Knowing that we are involved in something that is of such significance for these families makes us feel proud to be members of the Clinical Research Facility at Sheffield Children’s.”

More information about our research

 You can find out more about our current studies, on our website here.

To take part in research, find out more here.

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November 2021: Our guidance for inpatients at Sheffield Children's has changed. Two named parents/carers may be permitted in inpatients only.See more about our guidance about inpatients
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