Clinical Trials

Department of Health written question – answered on 29th January 2015.

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Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether his Department provides incentives to individual hospital trusts and clinicians to participate in (a) clinical trials in general and (b) clinical trials for ovarian cancer.

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what analysis his Department has made of the effect the Government's Strategy for UK Life Sciences on the referral of women with ovarian cancer to suitable trial centres in the UK.

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans he has to improve the participation of women in trials for ovarian cancer treatments.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supports and incentivises hospital trusts and clinicians to participate in clinical trials and studies in a number of ways.

The NIHR clinical research network (CRN) provides infrastructure and resource to enable the national health service to support participation in research across all clinical specialties and the CRN performance management framework measures and encourages such participation. In 2013/14 through the CRN over 99% of NHS trusts participated in CRN portfolio studies and 86% of NHS trusts participated in CRN commercial contract portfolio studies.

Decisions on how resource is to be distributed is devolved to local clinical research networks and monitored by the NIHR CRN Co-ordinating Centre on behalf of the Department; in some cases resource is provided as funded clinical sessions.

Patient recruitment to UK CRN trials and studies in ovarian cancer has more than tripled from 398 in 2009/10 to 1,283 in 2013/14.

The NIHR provides infrastructure for early phase clinical trials in cancer, including ovarian cancer, through its biomedical research centres, and through experimental cancer medicine centres jointly funded with Cancer Research UK.

Through its training and career development programmes, the NIHR supports clinicians at all stages of their career: integrated clinical and academic training; predoctoral, doctoral and postdoctoral training; and more senior awards. The prestigious NIHR Senior Investigator award provides an additional incentive for the country’s most outstanding clinical researchers. Participation in clinical trials may form part of research undertaken through training and career development awards.

The NIHR Research Design Service offers advice and support on clinical trial and other research design and methodology to researchers making funding applications and doing research within the health research system.

The Government’s Mandate to NHS England requires it to ensure that the new commissioning system promotes and supports participation by NHS organisations and NHS patients in research funded by both commercial and non-commercial organisations.

The Department has made no specific analysis of the effect of the Strategy for UK Life Sciences on the referral of women with ovarian cancer to suitable trials centres in the United Kingdom. As part of the strategy, the Government re-launched an enhanced web-based UK Clinical Trials Gateway. This provides patients and the public with authoritative and accessible information about clinical trials in the UK, including trials in ovarian cancer. The number of visits to the Gateway nearly tripled from just over 60,000 in 2011/12 to nearly 170,000 in 2013/14.

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