Including clinical trials and observational studies
Developing, evaluating and deploying new treatments is essential in the fight against cancer. Before any new innovation is made available en masse, it must first be tested to ensure it is safe, effective, and offers a real benefit to patients.
Clinical research is a key moment in the deployment of any cancer research innovation, and defines the evaluation of treatments, technology or methods involving people.
Broadly, there are two main types of clinical research activities: observational studies, which evaluate a treatment, technology or method that involves non-interventional activities, like questionnaires, data analysis and tissue donation, and interventional studies, also known as clinical trials, which evaluate a treatment, technology or method involving the administration and observing of volunteer patients.
Clinical trials overview
Clinical trials are separated into phases, and must be completed before a treatment is licensed for use. This can be a lengthy multi-year process with each phase involving different numbers of participants and having different goals.
Phase I or Early Phase Clinical Trials – evaluate side-effects and dose delivery in often small groups of people
Phase II Clinical Trials – measure side-effects, and how well the treatment works compared to another. This involves a typically larger group of people.
Phase III Clinical Trials – measure safety, effectiveness of different doses and combinations and quality of life on a much larger scale. This trial will also compare the new treatment against the standard treatment and can take place internationally.
Phase IV Clinical Trials – can sometimes be used to explore the effectiveness, safety and side effects in large populations to evaluate long term benefits.
Clinical research in Manchester
Clinical trials and studies are developed, delivered and deployed from selected facilities across Manchester due to the expertise, and facilities required. Institutes where cancer clinical trials are developed and delivered include:
- The Christie NHS Foundation Trust,
- The NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at both The Christie and Manchester University Foundation Trust
- The Manchester Clinical Trials Unit (CTU).
At The Christie alone, over 650 observational studies and clinical trials are being run at any given time.
Early phase clinical trials are operated through the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) with support from the NIHR Manchester CRF and The Christie, making it one of the largest and top recruiting early phase sites in Europe.
ECMC Manchester incorporates both adult and paediatric expertise and is part of the wider ECMC network of sites across the UK. Further information can be viewed on the Experimental and Precision Cancer Medicine research theme.
Finding out about clinical trials
Clinical trials available at the Christie and MFT are included in national databases. Further resources detailing the clinical trials and studies are provided by:
- Find a Clinical Trial on the Cancer Research UK website
- NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Portfolio
In addition, as part of the UpSMART Cancer Research UK Accelerator, the Digital Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre has developed a new trial matching tool to search for individual trials sorted to disease site and geographic location. You can use the prototype trial matching tool on the dECMT website.