I undertook a clinical research fellowship at the MRINZ in Wellington from 2010 to 2012, whilst on Out of Programme for Research from my Medical Registrar training post in Respiratory and General (Internal) Medicine in England.
I was the clinical co-ordinating investigator for a 6-month open-label, multicentre, randomised controlled trial involving 303 adult asthma patients at five national sites in New Zealand, leading to the submission of a PhD thesis at the University of Nottingham (UK).
This HRC-funded trial studied the efficacy and safety of maintenance and reliever combination budesonide/formoterol inhaled therapy (SMART) in real-world asthma patients at risk of severe exacerbations, using electronic monitoring to measure actual use of inhalers by participants. I was responsible for the set-up, supervision, recruitment and site monitoring of participants at four primary care sites and one hospital site across four cities in New Zealand. The trial recruited patients with poor asthma control and those at high risk of severe exacerbations, including patients with poor adherence to treatment.
During my three years at the MRINZ, I gained a broad range of experience in clinical trials and clinical research project development and conduct by contributing to RCTs of paracetamol use in asthma and influenza, oxygen therapy in respiratory disease, magnesium therapy in acute COPD, pharmaceutical studies of novel inhaled preparations in COPD and clinical studies of airways phenotyping.
My research training at the MRINZ benefited from working with and learning from experts in biostatistics, clinical trial ethics and management, data handling/databases/IT systems, and physiologists, as well as senior clinical researchers. This training allowed me to develop sub-specialty experience in airways disease and asthma. This has translated to my clinical practice as a Respiratory Consultant working in a severe asthma service.
On my return to the UK, I gained my PhD from Nottingham University in 2013. Our work led to several national and international conference presentations and a number of publications.
My 3 years in Wellington were amazing and I couldn’t speak more highly of my experience of New Zealand. It has been a privilege to have worked for Professor Richard Beasley and the MRINZ team.
Dr Mitesh Patel, BMedSci, BMBS (Nottingham), MRCP (UK), MRCP (Respiratory Medicine), PhD
Consultant Respiratory Physician, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK