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The launch of a new endoscopy service at the Oxford Experimental Medicine Clinical Research Facility (EMCRF) will enhance the collection of data for research projects at NDORMS and across the University of Oxford.

Endoscopy facility launch
L to R: Dr Julia Pakpoor, Daria Nastri and Professor Simon Travis view the first endoscopy procedure at the new facility

The first endoscopies at EMCRF will be low volume, high intensity procedures to support sample collection for our wet lab studies at the Kennedy Institute. Simon Travis, Professor of Clinical Gastroenterology explained: 'Initially it will focus on flexible sigmoidoscopies examining the left side of the colon to support the Sagittarius Study which is being led by Dr Julia Pakpoor. The study is exploring the predictors of response and non-response to advanced therapies for ulcerative colitis at a cellular and molecular level.'

'This facility will really help with the recruitment of patients for the Sagittarius study and relieve the burden on the NHS,' said Dr Julia Pakpoor, Clinical Research Training Fellow at the Kennedy Institute. 'This integration of research, clinical care, and science will be a huge benefit to our patients.'

The Oxford EMCRF is a Clinical Research Facility providing a resource for early phase, experimental research across the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford. Studies have included the COVID-19 human challenge study, Paratyphoid vaccine development; Keyhole Limpet Hemocyanin immune challenge, and early interventional trials for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and Huntington's disease.

Cushla Cooper, Clinical Operational Lead at the EMCRF said: 'With some funding from the MRC and NIHR we were able to acquire the right equipment and develop the endoscopy service. In time, we plan to do bronchoscopies, a procedure that examines the lungs and airways, but we are launching today with research endoscopies which will reduce the pressure on endoscopy at the hospital Trust.'

Rebecca Underdown was the first patient to visit the facility and provide a tissue sample for the Sagittarius study. She said: 'I had such a good experience at the new research endoscopy facility. The staff were so knowledgeable, friendly and welcoming, and the facilities were excellent. The rooms provided great space and privacy which can sometimes be lacking around this procedure. I feel privileged to participate in research around Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), particularly so those in future can have a smooth path from diagnosis to treatment and be saved some pain! The doctors all work so hard with this and so to be involved in a small way is an honour.'