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Plans announced for a hospital based clinical trials unit in County Durham and Darlington

Plans for a new unit dedicated to setting up and running clinical trials have been announced by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

Due to open in 2014 and based at Darlington Memorial Hospital, the new unit will provide a central resource to help clinicians and staff apply for funding, to design studies and provide a dedicated space to carry out commercial trials.

The plans are being headed up by Prof. Yan Yiannakou, Director of Research and Development at the Foundation Trust. He said: "We are very excited about these ambitious and forward looking plans. This will be the first clinical trials unit the north east, outside of Newcastle. The new unit will give us access to dedicated clinic space, a four-bedded unit, and a more comfortable environment for patients involved in trials.

"Clinical trials can be very complex to set up and run. The unit will enable research teams to come together in a dedicated space. This will improve efficiency and communication, and allow teams to work together and learn from each other.

"We believe the unit will raise our profile as a Trust and enable us to increase our research activity.  This is important from a patient perspective as it means that their local clinicians and care providers are constantly seeking improvements, we are asking questions of ourselves about whether there are better ways to do things, we are striving for improvements all the time with patient care at the centre of everything we undertake."

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust is already building a distinguished profile for research activity and has been selected to take part in a number of national studies as well as those being led locally by clinicians. 

Trials currently underway include a pioneering treatment for chronic constipation, a novel way of treating patients with narrowing of their gullet and the use of 3D imaging for earlier detection of breast cancer.

A programme of refurbishment is underway on the fifth floor of the hospital to create the new unit.


Published 11th June 2012

'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very thankful and relieved patient'.

Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital of North Durham