26 May 2021

International Clinical Trials Day was celebrated around the world on Thursday 20 May 2021, highlighting the vital importance of research in the world of healthcare.

As a world-class research hospital and leading centre for research and development, we are committed to instilling innovation at every opportunity to improve care and outcomes for patients with heart and lung disease.

During 2020/21, the world's clinical trials efforts were focused on COVID-19. We supported several COVID-19 studies at Royal Papworth Hospital, including the Oxford vaccine trial, while also maintaing other important cardiovascular research.

The research and development team at Royal Papworth Hospital is a multidisciplinary effort compising nurses, consultants, pharmacists, co-ordinators, data management and many other job roles across the Trust. 

Research in numbers 2020/21

  • Royal Papworth Hospital recruited 2,246 people to 49 studies. 
  • Of these, 10 were urgent public health studies being run to investigate the diagnosis, treatment, genetics and immunology of COVID-19.
  • These studies alone accounted for 1,753 recruits involving both patients and staff. 
  • These included the RECOVERY study looking at a number of different treatment options for patients with COVID-19 and a Royal Papworth Hospital lead Urgent Public Health study looking at the humoral immune correlates of COVID-19 (HICC).
  • The hospital's research and development team also recruited 493 patients into 31 non-COVID studies. These included a wide variety of disease groups including lung cancer, atrial fibrillation, cardiac surgery and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. 
  • Royal Papworth Hospital ranked as the top recruiting site in the UK for over 50% of the interventional studies we supported. The fantastic recruitment figures are in spite of the pandemic, with research and development staff redeployed across the hospital to support the clinical teams.

A person in a blue uniform hands a white paper bag to a person in a pink cardigan and white top.
Deepa (nurse) and Robyn (phamacist) discussing drugs for a cystic fibrosis study.

Some of our current, non-COVID research studies

NOTACS study

The Nasal Oxygen Therapy After Cardiac Surgery study is comparing the use of standard oxygen therapy in patients who are at high risk of breathing complications after heart surgery. It is thought that humidified (warmed) oxygen may help open aiways and be more effective. 


This study sets to test a new handheld device to diagnose the onset of breathing failure in patients with motor neurone disease (MND). It investigates whether the device can be used by patients to enable them to monitor their own condition at home and, over time, reduce their number of hospital visits. 

The handheld device measures the amount of carbon dioxide in the user's breath. 


A few years ago, we realised that some of our patients who we treat for lung cancer, either with surgery or radiotherapy, go on to develop another lung cancer. It's important to try and identify who the at-risk patients are so we can intervene and catch the cancer at an earlier stage, improving outcomes. 

The Second Primary lung cancer cohORT (SPORT) study is now looking at developing a new test to diagnose a second cancer after treatment for lung cancer.