More NHS patients participating in UK clinical trials than ever before

A piece of good news with which to begin the New Year.  PharmaTimes is reporting that the number of patients participating in clinical trials jumped by 67% last year to over half a million (compared to over 300,000 in 2009).

The new CEO of the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network Co-ordinating Centre (NIHR CRN CC) – which provides the machinery for how clinical trials are delivered in the UK, Jonathan Sheffield is quoted as pointing to the involvement of the wider NHS (not just teaching hospitals) and increased public awareness as key factors behing the increase. 

A rather interesting piece of news I thought given a) today’s news about the ‘polypill’ trial going ahead, b) the impending Academy of Medical Sciences report on medical research regulation and, on a more personal note, c)  that these first few months of the year shall see me busy working with patients and colleagues in NIHR CRN CC to ensure an even better plan for the implementation of patient and public involvement across the UK’s clinical research networks. 

Jonathan alludes to this work in his interview and it is an area where medical research charities have had, and will continue to play, an important role  – assisting in patient recruitment to trials, raising awareness among patient constituencies of the importance of research, as well as funding such trials themselves of course.  As NIHR figures showed last year, 37% of all clinical studies on their portfolio are  funded by charities. 

Hopefully the Academy’s forthcoming report will show the way to how we might build on this success.

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