The UK has an incredibly strong science foundation, with the 2011 Life Sciences Strategy describing the industry as ‘truly a jewel in the crown of our economy’. There are over 380 pharmaceutical companies based in the UK, employing over 100,000 people. The health sciences sector in the UK is constantly changing to adapt to the latest scientific breakthroughs, technologies and new models of disease diagnosis and treatments. For its part, the ECMC brings together world-class expertise in each of its Centres.
One of the challenges facing the future of early-phase clinical trials is the efficient recruitment of patients. Clinical trials are evolving towards precision medicine, an approach that classifies patients based on their genetic make-up and provides them with personalised cancer therapies.
There is therefore a benefit to creating networks of centres of excellence that can provide industry and clinicians with access to a wide patient population. The ECMC is a UK-wide initiative that facilitates access to a broad patient population that allows for the exciting future of stratified cancer medicine with 18 adult centres and 11 paediatric locations distributed throughout the UK.
With the ability to recruit patients from multiple institutes, clinical trials can more readily be seen through to their finish. Each centre boasts outstanding academic Leads who guide their teams as they undertake world-class research in their fields of expertise.
Industry partners can collaborate with academia to obtain access to cutting edge, very early stage innovation, integration with clinical centres across the country, and consultation with a diverse range of expert opinion.
Under the Network, Centres can share expertise and resources with help from the newly implemented Trial Harmonisation programme that aims to deliver trials that are efficient in both time and target.
With the support of the ECMC Programme Office, the trial harmonisation programmes ensure the excellent communication between the centres of the network and efficient manoeuvring of clinical trial start-up times. The benefit of working with a Network such as the ECMC is that it provides a consistency across the multiple centre sites, leading to a streamlining set up time and quality of work.