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Darlington Memorial Hospital's new clinical research unit to increase drug trials
A NORTH-EAST hospital is opening a new Clinical Research Unit later this month - one of the biggest in the region.
The new £285,000 facility at Darlington Memorial Hospital, will see former offices transformed into a high-tech centre for research, looking at a range of health conditions.
The new unit reflects County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust's position in a national league table of organisations which carry out health research.
The Trust is in the top 15 per cent of NHS organisations carrying out research - ranked 56th out of 390 in the UK.
When the Clinical Research Unit opens its doors it will include out-patient areas, a waiting room, space for in-patient research work, meeting rooms, as well as accommodation for office staff and research teams. The facility will be used by the Trust's teams working across 26 different specialities, covering a broad range of projects.
Professor Yan Yiannakou, director of research and development at the Trust said: "The Trust is conducting a lot of research in a broad range of specialties and we now perform research in most of the main departments in the Trust, with more than 35 consultants leading trials.
"The research really falls into two categories. The first is drug trials for pharmaceutical companies, which is important in making sure these trials are done in a multi-centred way.
"It means patients here in the local area have the opportunity to access the latest drugs under development - which has obvious benefits.
"The other kind of research we do is our own, where we are driving the agenda, using our own ideas and innovations, which we have been very successful with and which attracts funding for the Trust.
"At the moment we have three large studies looking at gastro-intestinal disorders and breast cancer."
He said research and development work being done within the Trust is growing rapidly, increasing by an average of 38 per cent per year over the last five years.
"Last year we had 2,735 patients involved in our research, and we recruited to 91 clinical trials - so the new CRU will be extremely busy."
The Trust's Research and Development Department includes around 30 research nurses, as well as pathology and pharmacy staff, working across the Trust's sites in Durham and Darlington.
The new Clinical Research Unit has been funded with income generated by research.
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