A new comprehensive online resource listing national expertise in the design and conduct of clinical trials is launched today. The UKCRC Registered Clinical Trials Units website provides, for the first time, centralised information on Clinical Trials Units (CTUs) in the UK with expertise in centrally coordinating multicentre clinical trials from design and development, through to data management, and final analysis.
The new website will be a valuable resource for clinical researchers and funders wishing to identify CTUs that can help them to design and run high quality trials for the benefit of patients. It has been developed and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre on behalf of the UKCRC Partners.
Developing and running a clinical trial is a complex process and CTUs are specialist units that bring together the experts needed to design, manage and analyse a trial. These include clinicians, statisticians and trial managers who together ensure that clinical trials are conducted in line with appropriate standards and regulations. The CTUs listed on the website have all achieved UKCRC Registration status. To do this they were required to provide evidence to an international panel of experts of their capability to centrally coordinate multicentre clinical trials to the highest quality standards. Forty CTUs met these quality criteria and were awarded UKCRC Registration in November 2007.
Using the website, researchers and funders can easily locate CTUs by name or location. In addition, more detailed searching allows users to find suitable CTUs by disease research areas (eg diabetes, mental health), methodological research areas (eg economic evaluation, systematic reviews and meta-analysis) or specific types of clinical research study (eg surgical trials, trials of investigational medicinal products). CTUs can also be identified by their experience of working with particular funders of clinical research.
Professor Janet Darbyshire, Joint Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre, said "Working with Clinical Trials Units can help to increase the quality of clinical trials which ultimately means that the results are more meaningful. The UKCRC Registered Clinical Trials Units website provides an easy route for researchers and funders to tap into the fantastic experience and expertise that these units provide."
Dr Liam O'Toole, Chief Executive of the UKCRC, said: "Easy access to the kind of information provided by this website will help researchers and funders, including the pharmaceutical industry, to easily identify CTUs which can help their studies. The launch of this website is part of a range of measures to ensure that the UK is at the forefront of carrying out high quality research for the benefit of patients."