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East of England clinical trials increased by more than 25% in the last year, data show

Data published by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network this month show that the number of clinical trials that took place in the East of England increased by 28% in the last year.

Research teams based at NHS and social care organisations across the East of England region enrolled more than 88,000 participants (88,862) to 804 NIHR funded and supported clinical research trials in 2021/22, up from 628 in 2020/21.

Although participation saw a decrease on the previous year’s (2020/21) total following the huge push to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the total recruitment over the last year was still an increase of 58% on the year before the pandemic hit, in 2019/20. 

However, this year has also seen a marked increase in NIHR Cancer research, with 4,857 people taking part in 206 clinical trials in the East of England. This was an increase of 56% in the number of regional people participating in cancer research and an increase of 21% in the number of studies open to volunteers.

Along with people taking part in vital research at NHS hospitals in the region, GPs have continued to play a huge role in offering research opportunities to patients and the public at home. 62% (246) of GP Practices across all NHS CCG areas in the region delivered NIHR research over last year, helping to find new treatments and ways to care for patients.

The NIHR is the nation’s largest funder of clinical research and is the research partner of the NHS and social care, with NIHR CRN staff embedded in organisations across the country.

Nationally, the NIHR CRN annual statistics show that 1,289,937 people took part in 4,623 portfolio studies in England in 2021/22. 28,193 of these participants took part in commercial studies sponsored by the life sciences industry.

As effective treatments and vaccines have helped to slow the prevalence of COVID-19, the NIHR has worked with teams in the NHS and social care to fund and support the managed recovery of research. This has resulted in opportunities for people to take part in wider clinical research being available at 100% of all NHS Trusts in England.

Read more on the NIHR CRN Annual Statistics.