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Blood cancer charity to kick-start clinical trials

Published on 19/05/11 at 12:02pm

A UK blood cancer charity is creating a network of clinical trial centres with backing from the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research has invested £2.3 million into the scheme to generate more early-stage drug candidates, which could then be chosen for further commercial development.

The new network has been launched following a two-year pilot study to investigate its feasibility.

The sponsor of the first trials will be the University of Birmingham, with the process following an investigator-initiated model. The aim is for a pharma company to subsequently step in and develop any promising drug compounds further.

More people die of blood cancer each year than breast and prostate cancer but UK trials in these conditions are often held back by patient recruitment problems.

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research says it wants to offer a ‘ready-made network’ for the pharma industry to tap into.

The charity’s network will link 13 hospitals across the UK and is due to enrol its first patients into trials by the end of the year.

Cathy Gilman, chief executive of Leukaemia Research said: “We are now in a better position than ever to accelerate the translation of this wealth of knowledge from the laboratory to the bedside. The clinical trial process currently lacks a systematic national approach.”

The charity wants to change this by putting in place an infrastructure to co-ordinate future blood cancer trials.

Welcoming the initiative Dr Russell Hamilton, Department of Health director of R&D, said: “Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’s clinical trials network is a great model for the sort of partnership between charities and the NHS which can lead to real improvements in treatment. The NIHR Clinical Research Network will provide the required NHS support for this research.”

Brett Wells


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