West Norfolk residents are helping to find a cure for deadly diseases

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Finding a cure for deadly diseases is one of the many challenges facing researchers, but West Norfolk residents are doing their bit to help out.

People living in West Norfolk and the Fens are doing their bit to help the Research and Development Team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the battle against conditions such as cancer, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

The team is taking part in more than 56 studies to support national and international researchers who are looking into conditions like diabetes and childhood obesity, as well as the physical and emotional effects of being treated in a critical care unit.

Antonia Hardcastle, who leads the research and development team at QEH, said: “Patients are very generous to take part in these studies. We have some patients who are incredibly ill but continue to come to the hospital as they want to give something back.”

The hospital’s research and development team has increased its ranking in the annual research activity league tables published by the National Institute for Health Research.

During the last 12 months, the department has seen a 116 per cent increase in the number of patients taking part in research and a 24 per cent increase in the number of studies being delivered.

Dr Hardcastle added: “The communication between our staff and patients is vitally important in research, as it is all about striving to find ways to increase patient care and alleviate suffering.

“This has been a record year for us and we are really pleased with the results but we never lose sight of what we are working towards.”

Among the projects being supported by the team at the moment is Primetime, which could prevent some breast cancer patients making the daily journey to Cambridge for radio treatment.

The team is also supporting a five-year study to see if the regular taking of aspirin could prevent some cancers from returning.