By Xindi Wei
Pupils tried out Jaffa Cakes and a less famous brand last month – but it wasn’t in their lunch break.
They were being shown how scientific experiments can produce helpful results – and sometimes end up finding crucial cures.
Children at Oasis Academy South Bank in Lambeth joined patient volunteers and research staff from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust for an online event to find out more about careers in clinical research, nursing and medicine.
Claire O’Neill, public engagement manager at Guy’s and St Thomas’ said: “We were delighted to host Oasis Academy for our first online International Clinical Trials Day event.
“The questions from our young audience showed a real interest in clinical research and careers.
“If you’re looking to find out more and are based in Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark, I would encourage you to apply to our upcoming summer school in July.”
During the event, volunteers from the Research Advisory Group shared their experiences of clinical research and why they volunteer to work with researchers to improve healthcare.
The group explained how the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre brings together academics and clinicians to translate lab-based scientific breakthroughs into potential new treatments, diagnostics and medical technologies for the benefit of patients.
At the end of the event, students worked with their teachers to take part in a mock clinical trial designed by the research team. This involved blind testing the taste of a Jaffa cake versus the taste of a supermarket’s own brand.
Mr Dominic Williams, science teacher at Oasis Academy said: “The range and level of expertise was incredible! The children, especially those interested in healthcare and scientific research, enjoyed hearing from such experts.”
International Clinical Trials Day (May 20) commemorates the launch of James Lind, a ship’s surgeon’s pioneeringclinical trial into the causes of scurvy aboard the HMS Salisbury in 1747, which laid the foundation for modern-day clinical research.
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