Multiple sclerosis patients trial new drugs at Romford hospital

Research nurse Elisa Visentin is pictured with patient David Downes

Research nurse Elisa Visentin is pictured with patient David Downes - Credit: Archant

Patients at Queen’s Hospital are at the cutting edge of developing new treatments for incurable neurological disease, multiple sclerosis.

David Downes, a council officer from Ilford, was diagnosed with the condition, known as MS, two years ago.

The married dad-of-two said it was a “relief” for him and his family to be given a diagnosis after months of uncertainty over what was making him ill.

Now he is one of three people testing a new drug which could help manage and improve symptoms.

The 47-year-old has been seeing a consultant at Queen’s, in Rom Valley Way, Romford, who suggested he take part in a clinical trial.

“He explained it would be good for me,” said David. “I carry on taking my normal medication as well, but I am monitored closely because I am also trialling a different drug.

“You build up a really personal relationship with the staff because you see them every week.

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“If it also means I can help to develop drugs which could help other MS patients in the future then it’s a win-win situation.”

Three months into the year-long trial, David is already seeing improvements in his condition and recovery rates.

He is working closely with neurology research nurse Elisa Visentin who keeps a close eye on all patients taking part in medical trials.

She also has epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease patients trialling new treatments, and another observational study into MS.

She said: “I think that, because there is no cure for conditions like MS, there is a sense of altruism.”

“It’s a good club to be a member of,” said David. “I would have no hesitation in recommending other people to take part in trials.”

A spokesman for Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen’s, said: “We have had great success in carrying out clinical trials – helping to investigate new medicines and treatments for a range of conditions.”