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Increase in Gastro Trials Thanks to NorTrials

- Patients come all the way from Alta, Honningsvåg and Kirkenes to take part in our gastro trials. The NorTrials initiative has really succeeded, says Elisabeth Blomli.

Published 3/7/2024
Last updated 4/25/2024
A couple of women smiling

Blomli and colleague Hilde Rognli-Johannessen are clinical research nurses at the NorTrials centre for gastrointestinal diseases at the University Hospital of North Norway HF.  

- One of our trial patients refers to us simply as 'my nurses'. Many of the trial participants have to come here quite often, perhaps once a month, so we get to know each other well, says Blomli. 

The head of NorTrials Gastrointestinal is professor and senior physician Rasmus Goll. Bioengineer Kristina Aas has recently joined the team in a 25% position.  

- As far as we know, we are the only NorTrials centre that has a permanent bioengineer. She takes care of the more complicated blood tests, and her expertise is really needed, says Goll. 

Gastro trials increasing 

Despite the decline in clinical trials on a national and European level, the hospital in Tromsø has seen an increase. At the moment, they have 6 trials, two of which are on celiac disease, three on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and one on esophagitis.  

- We wouldn't have had the chance to run all of these trials if it wasn't for the NorTrials initiative. Previously, Hilde was the only one working with clinical trials here at the clinic, and she had to hunt for a doctor who could spare some of his or her free time. Since starting NorTrials, we've also learned more about our patient base, so we can answer more precisely how many patients can participate when we're asked about it. Relevant patients also come from far away, since Finnmark Hospital HF has not succeeded in recruiting a gastroenterologist. The challenge for patients is long travel distances and unpredictability in terms of weather and transportation options. As for the rest of the country, a network has been established with many of the country's gastro departments, which are involved when we receive requests for multicentre trials, says Goll.  

Most gastro trial inquiries from industry are sent directly to Goll, while feasibility requests in other therapy areas often are received via the NorTrials feasibility portal. Merethe Larsen and Brynjar Mauseth at the Clinical Research Department receive the inquiries and forward them to the relevant department. 

The team at NorTrials Gastro
Elisabeth, Hilde, Rasmus, Kristina and Merethe


Planning a study nurse network 

In February, study nurses Elisabeth and Hilde gave a presentation to nursing colleagues at the Norwegian Gastroenterology Association's annual meeting in Lillehammer. They provided information about NorTrials and how they work with clinical trials on a day-to-day basis. There was great interest in following up these topics after the meeting, so the two are now planning to establish a network of trial nurses at gastroenterology departments in the rest of the country. That way they can exchange experiences and perhaps create common systems and find a "best practice". Coordinator at NorTrials Cancer, Charlotte Helen Melby, has done the same in the cancer field 

- We will try to get in touch with everyone who may be interested, but if anyone reads this and wants to join the network, they are welcome to contact us right away, says Rognli-Johannessen. 

Email Hilde: hilde.rognli-johannessen@unn.no 

Email Elisabeth: elisabeth.blomli@unn.no