‘Gold standard’ recognition for Tayside Clinical Trials Unit

Tayside Clinical Trials Unit (TCTU) – a joint initiative between the University of Dundee and NHS Tayside – has been recognised for the 'gold standard' of its clinical research.

The TCTU has retained full registration status by the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, the national body overseeing clinical trial units in this country. To receive full registration a unit such as TCTU has to demonstrate to an international panel of experts that it can coordinate multi-centre clinical trials and deliver them to the highest quality standards as well as publish the results in quality journals.

Clinical trials are dependent on the willingness of people to take part in research to test treatments for diabetes, dementia, cancer, and heart, lung, skin and liver disease among other conditions. There are currently 33 live studies taking place at TCTU – 15 drug trials and 18 complex intervention/lifestyle studies.

"We have once again been awarded what is effectively a gold standard for the work of the Unit,” said Dr Fiona Hogarth, co-Director of TCTU. “This is great news as is shows our process and procedures are recognised by an international review panel and helps to attract research funding from a range of sources who can be satisfied that we operate to the best standards in handling major clinical trials.

“Staff are involved in the pre-award design and methodology of trials, as well as bespoke activity relating to data management systems, drug management and statistical analysis. We enable research teams to deliver studies to timelines and on budget. The team here is incredibly professional and has worked closely with researchers to improve the quality of research being carried out.

“Being recognised in this way helps us gain the trust and support of the public. We are incredibly grateful to all volunteers who take part, either locally, nationally or internationally.”

TCTU works on an international platform, recruiting participants for trials from across the UK and Europe and has established links with a number of other universities. Full registration enables the team at TCTU to build on these and develop relationships with new partners. It also means researchers are eligible for more grant funding to allow them to continue their world-leading research.

The unit was formed in June 2008. It was granted initial registration by the UK Clinical Research Collaboration in 2009 and full registration in 2012. The Unit brings together the expertise needed to undertake a clinical trial, including clinicians, statisticians, software developers and trial managers. Working across a broad spectrum of indications not limited to drug trials, TCTU is also active in dental projects, paediatric studies and healthy lifestyle interventions.

Clinical trials have been a key part of establishing Tayside as a major centre of world-class medical research. They bring benefits to patients by allowing researchers to develop better treatments and improve prevention of major diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and others.

To be eligible for full UK Clinical Research Collaboration registration, units had to demonstrate they were capable of centrally coordinating multi-centre clinical trials and other well-designed studies, taking overall responsibility for the design, conduct, data management, publicity and analysis of a trial in line with appropriate standards and regulations.

For more information about TCTU, including how to volunteer for clinical trials, please contact tctu@dundee.ac.uk or call 01382 383893.


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