University hosts county’s new clinical trials unit

Centre will co-ordinate and manage projects form across the region and around the world


A NEW clinical trials unit set up in Preston this week is set to become the UK hub for a global stroke study.

The unit, the first of its kind in Lancashire, has been launched by the University of Central Lancashire.

It will essentially focus on supporting complex intervention trials in stroke, midwife­ry, cancer, musculoskeletal health, and mental health.

Although the unit will carry out its own research and in­vestigations, it will also become the hub for a host of other trials being carried out across the region and will also co-ordinate work being done in other parts of the world and internationally. One of the first trials being tested at the CTU will examine how hospital nursing policies in the first 24 hours after a stroke effect survival and disability.

Known as ‘HeadPost’, the study, led by Australian Professor Craig Anderson, will recruit 20,000 patients globally, with the 6,000 UK research participants managed by Lancashire CTU in Preston led by UCLan’s Professor Caroline Watkins.

Dr Watkins, Professor of Stroke and Older People’s Care and the director of Lancashire CTU said: “We are delighted to be part of this wider collaboration to enhance the quality of clinical trials nationally and internationally.

“The new Clinical Trials Unit, which is the first ever unit to be opened in the Lancashire region will not only increase trial capacity and quality for researchers from UCLan, Universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster but also offer comprehensive support to trials across important diseases and health issues.”

She added: “We are proud to be a part of this initiative and working to provide complementary support to the other CTUs in the region, and to be working towards gaining registration with the UK Clinical Research Collaboration and thus further develop our CTU’s portfolio.”

Prof Craig Anderson, leader of the HeadPost programme, said: “It is a great opportunity to work with Prof Watkins and her team on a major new nursing care trial with the potential to advance acute stroke services across the globe.”