Clinical Trials Units London

A new unit dedicated to setting up and running clinical trials was launched yesterday at Imperial College London.

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Clinical trials are carried out to determine whether new drugs and therapies are safe and effective for use in people.

The co-directors of the new Imperial Clinical Trials Unit (ICTU) hope it will build on the existing trials being carried out at the College to create a centre of excellence for clinical trials of treatments for conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health problems.

Clinical trials are carried out in phases: after testing in the lab, a Phase I clinical trial is carried out to determine whether a treatment is safe for humans. Phase II and III trials are then completed to find out if the treatment works; for example, to see what effect a new drug for preventing heart attacks has on the heart attack rate in patients. Finally, Phase IV trials monitor and assess the safety of drugs once they have been licensed for widespread use. The process may take up to ten years, during which time the conduct of the trial must adhere to strict guidelines and standards.

The ICTU will provide a central resource to help scientists apply for funding, design and carry out trials, and analyse their results. It will bring together clinicians, statisticians and trial managers with expertise in every aspect of running clinical trials.

Professor Deborah Ashby, Co-Director of the Imperial Clinical Trials Unit, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: “Clinical trials can be very complex things to set up, with funding applications, ethical considerations and trial design to do before you’ve even started. To run a successful trial you need expertise in all of these things, as well as in methodology and statistical analysis. Our new unit will offer this expertise to researchers around the College who want to run clinical trials. We are very excited to launch the ICTU and we look forward to creating a world-class unit that will benefit patients across the world.”

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The conference will focus on issues such as design and analysis of clinical trials, methods in biostatistics and development of clinical prediction models.

Popular Q&A

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