Successful results from national clinical trial

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has seen great results from a patient who has been part of a national clinical trial.

The PD COMM study is a randomised controlled trial to compare the clinical and cost effectiveness of a treatment for speech disorders known as Lee Silverman Voice Treatment, compared to the standard NHS speech and language therapy. These treatments were also compared with having no treatment; all centred on those with Parkinson’s disease, who have self-reported problems with their speech or voice.

Parkinson’s disease is a lifelong condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. The disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain which leads to a reduction in a chemical called dopamine in the brain; vital in regulating the movement of the body.

Many people diagnosed with the condition are known to have speech-related problems, which can greatly affect their lives. Speech and language therapy is recommended for these individuals.

Participants of the PD COMM study are randomly allocated to one of three groups. Participants in the first group receive the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment. Participants in the second group receive the standard NHS speech and language therapy treatment. Participants in the third group do not receive any of the treatments for the duration of the study. Participants in all groups complete a number of questionnaires at the start of the study, and then again at intervals following the completion of the study to assess performance.

Peter Quine, a patient at Royal Preston Hospital, was recently randomised into the Lee Silverman voice treatment group of the study. This meant that Peter was required to visit the NIHR Lancashire Clinical Research Facility at Royal Preston Hospital four times per week, for an hour each time, for a duration of four weeks. This treatment focuses on improving the pronunciation of speech, and the loudness of the voice.

Peter said: “When I was asked if I would be interested in getting involved with the trial, I jumped at the chance and thought ‘why not’! When being informed about the study, the research team made it really easy to understand. The team were highly efficient and there was lots of love and care in the facility. Every single person from the cleaners to the research nurses and everyone in between were absolutely brilliant.”

“The study was like going back to school! It was intense but manageable with set exercises and homework to learn everyday phrases and complete reading practises. I would certainly recommend getting involved in clinical trials such as these to anyone in a similar position to myself. Some of my exercises were recorded and when they played them back, I didn’t even recognise myself! It was dreadful, and has now massively improved with this trial!”

Anne-Marie Timoroksa, Research Nurse at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said: “We don’t have the official results yet for the whole trial, but the results that we have seen so far have been brilliant. Peter and his wife, Connie, felt as though they have seen a remarkable improvement in his voice and his confidence from this. We are really pleased with the results that we have seen so far.”

Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said: “As a leading research centre, research is extremely important to us to enable us to offer our patients and their families the high quality of care that they deserve.”

“We are delighted that we are able to play such a big part in innovation and in developing ground-breaking treatments and results for the future through involvement in such practice changing clinical trials. We are committed to research and innovation within our hospitals, and to have such great achievements is testament to the fantastic staff that we have in our research teams, and the brilliant Clinical Research Facility which opened last year to provide an environment for these trials to take place.”

The NIHR Lancashire Clinical Research Facility, based at Royal Preston Hospital, was opened officially in November 2017 and is the only NIHR CRF in Lancashire. The centre provides patients in the Lancashire and South Cumbria area with the opportunity to be involved in clinical research across a wide range of health topics and conditions.