PATIENTS in the Forth Valley are set to benefit from access to a range of clinical trials following an increase in research projects taking place.

More than 100 trials in areas such as cancer treatment, cardiology, dementia, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and much more are being supported by NHS Forth Valley's Clinical Research Team.

The health board is also the only in in Scotland to have joined a UK study to evaluate the use of a urine test which could help detect womb cancer in three hours.

Researchers explained that detecting the cancer marker MCM5 (Minichromosome Maintenance Complex Component 5) in urine, could reduce the need for more invasive procedures like biopsies in women suspected of having the disease.

There is much more, with trials in women's health, gastroenterology, mental health, paediatrics and surgery.

Anne Todd, trials practitioner and team lead at NHS Forth Valley, said: “Providing patients with the opportunity to participate in a wide range of research can directly influence current practice and improve future care, including the development of new treatments.

“We are extremely thankful to all the participants, staff and services who support research in NHS Forth Valley as, without their participation and local collaboration, we would not be able to offer as many research opportunities to those living in and around Forth Valley.”

NHS Forth Valley was also the first health board in the UK to recruit participants in a clinical trial which could help adults with early-onset or mild dementia.

Using specialist headsets which record EEG brain wave, participants are asked to carry out a variety of tasks and short “games” to test memory, language, fluency, attention and overall concentration.

Those taking part also wear a special headband at night to record brain waves and monitor the quality of their sleep over the course of a year.

Other studies include ORION-4, an international study assessing the effects of the drug Inclisiran on outcomes for people with a certain type of cardiovascular disease.

Recruitment started in January 2023 and participants will be followed for the next five years, with the aim of reducing their risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Then there is the Sunflower Study, which aims to establish the clinical and cost effectiveness of various approaches to treating gallstones.

More than a 110 have taken part, exceeding the initial target of 50.

The OPTIMA research trail is also ongoing, using genetic testing to determine whether some patients with breast cancer require chemotherapy after surgery, with the aim of reducing the use of a potentially unnecessary treatment.