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Research and Development

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Information for patients

The Research and Development Department understands the important role the public has in helping us to deliver research studies at the RD&E.  Good research studies help us to improve our healthcare but those changes can only happen with the help of our patients and carers.

Clinical TrialsFor patient Elena Lilley, taking part in a research study to improve her kidney function has proved life changing.

Elena was first diagnosed with atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (aHUS) in 2005, which left her needing to travel from her home in Barnstaple to Exeter three times a week for plasma exchange treatment. Her kidney function had been badly affected and she would soon need haemodialysis treatment.

In April 2010 doctors at the RD&E suggested to Elena that she would be a good candidate for a research study run by the CRN using a new drug called Eculizumab. “It was quite daunting and there was no evidence that it would work, but I was always positive about it. I just thought – do it and see. I couldn’t carry on the way I was” said Elena.


Throughout the three-year study, she received the drug intravenously at the RD&E every two weeks. She has seen a remarkable improvement in her kidney function – from 5% to 20% - and continues to receive the drug. Elena said: “It has made an indescribable difference. I don’t think of myself as poorly any more. I’ve got more energy and was able to take on a full-time job. It really has completely turned my life around.”     


Thanks to her own positive experience, Elena is keen to raise awareness of the importance of clinical research.  “I always thought, if it doesn’t work for me then it might help someone else. If you don’t try then you won’t know”.  



If you would like to take part in a research study please telephone 01392 408181.

For more details about how you can contribute to clinical research at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Hospital, please contact Alison Potter on 01392 406901 or, Dr Rohan Chauhan on 01392 406144.


Useful Links to other Organisations

INVOLVE: This is a national advisory group that encourages the public to be involved with many aspects of health research. More information can be found at:


South West Research Design Service: The Research Design Service (RDS) provides help for people writing research proposals in applied health or social care research. Patient and public involvement is central in the RDS to help develop patient facing research materials, reviewing research documents or creating service-user led research. For more information please go to:


Exeter NIHR Clinical Research Facility: The Clinical Research Facility (CRF) have specialist skills in imaging, molecular genetics, vascular measurement and the study of diabetes and a mobile unit to take research to patients and volunteers. The CRF only supports research which will maximise patient benefit. Anyone can take part in research or be involved in the research process. For more information please email: or telephone 01392 408181.


NIHR Clinical Research Network: South West Peninsula Clinical Research Network (CRN: SWP) supports many healthcare settings in the South West to deliver high quality research studies. The aim of the Clinical Research Network is to make sure that:


Updated 15 May 2015