Fylde coast residents are invited to a special research event celebrating International Clinical Trials Day at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Monday, May 22.
A mock research trial involving jelly beans will be set up by the Trust’s Research and Development Team to illustrate how trials work.
Michelle Stephens, Manager of the Research and Development Department, explained: “We are highly research active and we want to highlight this on International Clinical Trials Day.
“We’re going to use ‘BeanBoozled’ jellybeans, some taste nice, others less so! For example, the black jelly bean tastes of either chocolate pudding or canned dog food. The light blue bean is either blueberry or toothpaste! All are safe to eat as they are artificially flavoured.
“It will show the public the process of taking part in a clinical trial. A nurse will talk about the ‘study’ and visitors will read through the information.
“There will be two jellybeans in a pot — one of which tastes good and one which tastes awful.
“Our visitors will eat one of them. This demonstrates ‘randomisation’ (where neither the researchers nor the patients know what they are getting to prevent bias). In trials you have one that contains the drug and one is a placebo. We will then look at ‘efficacy’ – for example, does it make you spit it out? We’d also ask if it is a ‘drug’ we would want to keep using and so on.”
Last year the team staged a mock trial with biscuits inspired by comedian Peter Kay’s biscuit dunking jokes. There will also be tours of the hospital’s Research Centre on the day.
International Clinical Research Day is celebrated on or around May 20 — the anniversary of James Lind’s first clinical trial in 1747 which aimed to find a cure for scurvy.
Michelle added: “We will also be promoting the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) ‘I Am Research’ campaign which gives patients, the public and us a chance to shout about how fantastic research is.
“We aim to raise awareness of the benefits of research and the positive impact it has on people’s lives. We hope lots of people will come along and join in our jellybean trial and to find out more about what we do.”
The team will also be at Clifton Hospital on Pershore Road, St Annes, on Tuesday, May 23, from 9am to noon and at Fleetwood Hospital Friday on Pharos Street, May 26, from 9am to noon. The Research team will be demonstrating the work that they do through the ‘I am Research’ campaign.