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Manchester’s Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility welcomes 100,000th study participant

The Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility Manchester (WTCRF) recently celebrated its 100,000th participant visit to the Facility since its opening in November 2001.

The 100,000th participant was Ms Leslie Dickinson, taking part in Professor Rayaz Malik's trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (USA): Corneal confocal microscopy: A non-invasive surrogate for diabetic neuropathy.

Ms Dickinson said: "I just wanted to contribute to research for the future - more people, including me, will benefit from this work further down the line."

She went on to encourage other patients and volunteers to take part in clinical research, and said attending the WTCRF had been anything but a chore over the past two and a half years: "I've got to know everybody here, and they've all treated me so well. Another plus is that I have another way of hearing if I need any additional treatment when I attend.

"I'd recommend it to anyone who gets the chance to participate in research studies."

With around 10,000 participant visits a year, the Facility provides specialist space for clinical researchers, as well as other NHS partners. During the first nine years the Facility has housed over 400 researchers from across more than 30 different research areas.

The Facility has had over 375 study submissions to date and is currently serving 120 active studies and trials in both its Grafton Street site and the more recent sister-site, the Wellcome Trust Children's Clinical Research Facility (WTCCRF), located in the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

Of the study Professor Malik said: "The accurate and early detection of human diabetic neuropathy is important to define at risk patients, anticipate deterioration, and assess new therapies. Current measures of neuropathy fail to detect the earliest damage and repair.

"We have secured funding from the NIH to evaluate over 4 years for the novel non-invasive technique of corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) for the assessment of nerve damage and repair in diabetic patients following pancreas transplantation. We will compare CCM with the established techniques of neurophysiology, quantitative sensory testing and skin biopsy in the WTCRF."

Nursing staff at the WTCRF perform a clinical assessment followed by ophthalmic and neurological evaluation. Professor Malik's research team also undertake a skin biopsy in the newly opened Minor Procedures Suite, funded by the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre.

Ms Dickinson was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Medical Director of the WTCRF Professor Tony Heagerty, who said: "I am delighted that Ms Dickinson can join us to celebrate this significant landmark for the WTCRF. It pays tribute to the hard work of the staff and the ever increasing quality of the work undertaken."