Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network (Respiratory Health)
The Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network (NICRN) Respiratory Health interest group undertakes research in respiratory medicine throughout Northern Ireland. It is an integral part of a UK-wide initiative to provide opportunities for patients and clinicians to participate in high-quality clinical research. The NICRN is funded by HSC Research and Development Division and supports high quality clinical trials across all HSC Trusts in Northern Ireland.
The NICRN comprises ten regional interest groups, all headed by prominent specialist clinicians with a proven track record in clinical research.
The NICRN’s Respiratory Health aim is to:
• promote research in respiratory medicine within Northern Ireland;
• attract clinical trials in respiratory medicine to Northern Ireland;
• conduct clinical trials across Northern Ireland to the highest standards of quality and safety;
• provide infrastructure to facilitate the start-up of new trials in respiratory medicine;
• improve access for respiratory patients’ on new cutting-edge treatments.
The NICRN Respiratory Health interest group can provide researchers with the supporting infrastructure necessary to conduct high quality clinical research. The core funded team of skilled research staff include nurses, clinical physiologist and physiotherapists. Under the leadership of the Respiratory Clinical Leads (Prof Judy Bradley, Dr Lorcan McGarvey), the research staff work with the Principal Investigators from Queen’s University Belfast, University of Ulster, NHS Trusts and Pharmaceutical companies to develop, implement and evaluate an extensive range of research protocols and provide the highest level of expertise and patient care.
The NICRN Respiratory Health Research team can offer:
- Precise implementation of protocol procedures
- Assistance with screening and recruitment
- Scheduling of study visits
- Accurate collection, recording and documentation of sampling procedures
All research protocols are implemented in line with the Good Clinical Practice Guidelines and the NHS Research Governance Framework. The safety of staff and research participants is of paramount importance. A comprehensive directory of Standard Operating Procedures is available for use by all staff. Standard Operating Procedures are available for Clinical, Administration and Project Management procedures. The research staff are exclusively employed for research duties and activities associated with clinical research.
Clinical services include:
- Study visits
- Blood sampling and storage
- ECG facilities
- Static and dynamic lung function measurement
- Sputum induction
- Shuttle Walk Test/6 Minute Walk Test
- Nasal Potential Difference
- Sweat Testing
- Bronchial challenge testing
- Exhaled pH measurement
- Pacemaker evaluation
- 24 hour cardiac monitoring
- Overnight oximetry for diagnosis of sleep disorders
- Skin prick allergy testing
- Capillary ear lobe gases
- CPAP fitting and review
On appointment new research staff spend time working alongside experienced colleagues before beginning work in their own research area. This ensures that all research staff have strong links within the team and are involved in sharing best practice. The Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network organises a number of seminars and training events on a regular basis in order to support the research staff.
Research areas of interest include the following:
- Providing access to novel therapies through partnership with the commercial sector.
- Evaluation of novel therapies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchiectasis and asthma.
- Studies examining the mechanisms behind cystic fibrosis, in collaboration with international partners.