New Leicester Patient Recruitment Centre to improve patient access to commercial clinical research
Patients across the Midlands will benefit from easier access to clinical research opportunities, after University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust was selected as one of five NHS trusts in England to host a new National Patient Recruitment Centre (NPRC) for late phase commercial clinical research.
The new NPRC will enable local patients to take part in late-phase commercial clinical research - studies funded by the life sciences industry - through which participants can access potentially cutting edge new drugs and treatments before they become widely available within the NHS.
During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the new centres will also increase opportunities for patients to access trials assessing the latest potential treatments against COVID-19; in addition to trials across all other healthcare specialties.
The new centre, which will serve patients across the Midlands, is one of five being set up across the country to ensure that as many patients as possible can benefit.
Under the management of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and run locally by University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, the new Patient Recruitment Centre will provide dedicated space, purpose-designed facilities and medical expertise to deliver clinical research within a convenient local NHS hospital location - with the aim of increasing the number of studies being run across the region. By working closely with local NHS trusts and stakeholders, the centres will provide new opportunities for local patients to take part in important health research studies and trials.
Professor Melanie Davies, a consultant in diabetes medicine at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, will lead the new NPRC in Leicester. She said:
“We are delighted that Leicester has been selected through a competitive process to become one of only five PRCs in England. This will bring real opportunities for patients in Leicester, the Midlands, and beyond to take part in some of the most exciting clinical research using the latest treatments not yet available routinely on the NHS.
The Midlands has one of the largest life sciences sectors in UK, so to place a PRC in Leicester enhances the pipeline from drug development in the commercial sector to the patients’ bedside in hospitals.”
The five new centres across England have been made possible through a £7 million Government investment as part of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and Life Sciences Sector Deal 2, which sets out a series of measures to strengthen the UK environment for clinical research, while ensuring the country is at the forefront of medical science and the development of innovative new treatments for years to come. The centres will increase the NHS’s capacity to deliver vital research for patients, while decreasing the time it takes to set-up late-phase commercial trials within the NHS - improving the UK’s competitiveness in the global market and providing opportunities for patients to benefit from early access to innovation.
Dr William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said: “I am delighted to see funding awarded to these five centres across England. They will really increase opportunities for patients in the NHS to take part in research, will benefit the NHS and provide important investment to the country.
“The importance of clinical research has never been more evident than in the COVID-19 pandemic. The NIHR has been able to help fund and to support key research studies and trials into the basis, genetics, prognosis and, critically, to offer potential treatments, including the largest global clinical treatment trial in COVID-19. These centres now give us a further dimension and opportunity to offer large scale trials, for instance in vaccines for COVID-19, and to help deliver those at pace and scale. Looking further, they will help us build on our position as a great country to support life-sciences research.”
“The investment in these new centres will also significantly increase the NHS’s capacity to deliver research - benefiting the UK economy by attracting more life science investment in the UK, while creating jobs and generating income and savings for the NHS trusts who will deliver them - a welcome boost for our country’s health service.”