2021 has been a busy year for research at Guy’s and St Thomas’. Our researchers have made advances that could help to treat a range of conditions. We have published an infographic to share some of our highlights from the year.

Infographic text

This year Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals merged with Guy’s and St Thomas’. The merger provides an opportunity to strengthen our cardiovascular and respiratory research.

We also appointed Professor Robin Ali as the Director of our NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre.

Thank you to all our staff and patients who support and participate in our research.

At a glance

Studies open

  • Guy’s and St Thomas’: 1,641
  • Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals: 253

Participants recruited

  • Guy’s and St Thomas’: 24,369
  • Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals: 2,482


  • Guy’s and St Thomas’: 3,099
  • Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals: 987

Our year

January – Immune response. Results from the SOAP study showed that patients with solid tumours have the same immune response to COVID-19 as those without cancer, offering reassurance to these patients and helping to direct treatment.

February – Sepsis treatment. Our researchers identified an approach to mapping the immune response in people critically ill with sepsis, which could lead to more targeted and timely treatment for patients.

March – Allergy research. Our research found that increased application of moisturisers in infancy was linked to a higher risk of peanut allergy. The finding is now part of wider research to understand the reasons for allergies.

April – HOPE study. Results from the HOPE study showed that the sickle cell disease drug Oxbryta improved patients’ outcomes and reduced their chance of having anaemic episodes, vascular crises or leg ulcers.

May – Lung cancer trial. Royal Brompton and Harefield researchers received £2 million to conduct a study on treatment options for patients with advanced lung cancer, such as surgery or radiotherapy.

June – Advanced Therapies Accelerator. We formally opened our Advanced Therapies Accelerator. The specialised facility aims to speed up the development of cell and gene therapies to treat a range of conditions such as cancer and diabetes.

July – Updated WHO guidance. Our research on IL-6 blockers showed they could save four lives in every 100 hospitalised COVID-19 patients. This led to changes in WHO guidance on treating COVID-19.

August – Surgery risk test created. Researchers at Royal Brompton Hospital created a simple test to determine the risks of surgery for adults with congenital heart disease. This could help both clinicians and patients make more informed decisions before surgery.

September – COVID-Nurse study. We opened the COVID-Nurse study. The study will help to establish the most effective way for nurses to care for COVID-19 patients, so that innovations can be rolled out to the global nursing community.

October – Pregnancy study. Our researchers led the largest ever study of severe sickness during pregnancy. The findings shed light on the psychological and medical impact of the condition on women, raising awareness and understanding of the condition.

November – Pioneering sequencing. A same day sequencing test was piloted in our ICU. This pioneering test was able to identify bacterial or fungal infections rapidly and could reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

December – Vaccine boosters. The results of the COV-BOOST study showed that six different booster vaccinations against COVID-19 created an immune response. The advance helps to give confidence and flexibility in developing booster programmes.

Spotlight on our COVID-19 research

We have continued to support the national COVID-19 research effort. We have run studies to further understand how the disease works, as well as how best to treat the illness.

COVID-19 studies open in 2021

  • Guy’s and St Thomas’: 126
  • Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals: 28

Participants recruited to COVID-19 studies

  • Guy’s and St Thomas’: 14,449
  • Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals: 310

7 vaccine studies run at the Trust since August 2020

7,900 patient records added to the Guy’s and St Thomas’ COVID-19 Data Lake, making it much quicker and easier for our researchers to access the data they need for their studies. The Data Lake has supported 25 studies so far.