It’s back to the Future for gene researchers at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Research nurses, Giovanni Cucinotta (‘Marty’, left) and Alex Maley (‘Doc’) promoting the Future Initiative research study at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Researchers are looking for participants for a ground-breaking genetics study at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s Clinical Research Centre.

Research nurses, Giovanni Cucinotta and Alex Maley, promoted the ‘Future Initiative’ study at the hospital on August 9 by getting into character as ‘Doc’ and ‘Marty’ from the movie ‘Back to the Future’. They managed to sign up more than 60 members of staff on the day and others have signed up over the last two weeks.

The research team and researchers from other parts of the UK are working on a database for genotyping (the process of determining differences in the genetic make-up of an individual by examining the individual’s DNA sequence and comparing it to another individual’s sequence or a reference sequence).

Jo Howard, Research Nurse Manager, for the Clinical Research Centre, said: “We are looking to the future and are looking at developing medicines that are specific to the genotypes of patients.

Dr Gavin Galasko who is leading the story at the Clinical Research Centre at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

“The study involves taking samples of blood for DNA profiling to create a database of genotypes with the participants having the opportunity to participate in Phase One trials at a later date which would be specifically applicable to them.”

The principal investigator for the Future Initiative study at the Trust is Dr Gavin Galasko.

He said: “The development of new and better medicines is vital for public health.

“When pharmaceutical companies or researchers are developing new medicines, or improving the use of existing medicines, a key step is the testing in Phase One clinical trials (the testing of new and established medicines in humans).

“Researchers often face difficulties when recruiting volunteers who have specific genotypes. This study will help to develop a panel of healthy volunteers who have been genotyped and are readily available to be recruited for early phase studies.”

Healthy volunteers from the age of 18 to 45 can potentially participate in the Future Initiative study. Participants who sign up to be on the database receive £20 and there might be the opportunity to be involved in more in-depth research.

Participants need to be in good general health, not taking any regular medication, with no health problems and able to donate a sample of blood for DNA analysis. A single teaspoon of blood needs to be taken and the participant’s data will be stored securely. Participants need to agree to be contacted periodically and to be contacted with information on phase one research studies.

Can you spot our research nurses Giovanni and Alex on this Back to the Future poster?

The participants’ DNA will be extracted from their blood, it will be analysed and then coded. All data, including DNA information, will be stored securely.

For further information on how to participate please call 01253 951514 or email


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