A mobile clinical research facility developed in the U.K. as part of an alliance between the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick has started recruiting its first patients in Birmingham for three studies organized by the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research facility at the city’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, according to Pharma Times.
Launched last June with funding from the Birmingham Science City partnership and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity, the Health Research Bus (HRB) operates in conjunction with regional healthcare providers, including University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Children’s NHS Trust.
The aim, Birmingham University said, is to revolutionize the way clinical research for major health issues such as diabetes, obesity and aging is carried out in the community.
The HRB will enable clinical researchers in Birmingham to access a large population across the ethnic and socio-economic spectrum, said Professor Paul Stewart, dean of medicine at the University of Birmingham and director of the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility.
“In doing so, it will widen participation in clinical trials across all sectors of society through a start-of-the-art facility linked back to our hospital base,” Stewart added. “The bus will be a crucial way of rapidly conducting trials and ensuring their results are implemented quickly to improve the health of patients in Birmingham and beyond.”
The first mobile research study involves collecting DNA samples for use as a healthy comparison against a sample bank for patients with vasculitis. The second will recruit healthy volunteers and measure their immune response to a benign virus, again in comparison with patient samples. The goal is to improve treatment of the autoimmune disease lupus. The third study is looking at levels of fatigue in patients with vasculitis.