The Christie cancer centre in Manchester, UK, has opened a £35m (€41m) early phase clinical trial unit to help develop new treatments for a range of cancers.
The new centre houses a Phase I trials unit, the UK’s largest chemotherapy facility as well as a private patients’ suite, all paid for by the Christie, its charitable group and Cancer Research UK, with chemotherapy treatments funded by the national health service (NHS).
Working with pharmaceutical contract research organisations (CROs), the Christie will begin 10 new Phase I and II trials at the unit over the next few months after patients have been recruited for the trials.
Dr Tony Elliott, a doctor at the Christie said: “Clinical trials are vital in taking forward effective new cancer treatments and it is excellent that we undertake more trials with this new centre.”
The 10 new trials will focus on various cancers including gynaecology, breast, gastro-intestinal, genito-urinary, lymphoma, haematology, lung, sarcoma, melanoma, and some studies will involve a mix of cancer patients.
Furthermore, up to 40 Phase I and II trials which have already begun in the old Christie trials unit will be transferred to the new centre, while the chemotherapy division of the new patient treatment centre will enable patients to participate in around 30 national and international Phase III trials.
By 2014 the Christie expects that 2,400 patients a year will have access the latest cancer treatments through the clinical trials funded by pharmas such as AstraZeneca, with up to 200 drug trials taking place at any given time.
The Christie claims its early clinical trials centre is the world’s largest and that it has the capacity to treat around 700 chemotherapy and clinical trial patients each week.
Housing 70 beds and 65 treatment chairs, the centre also accommodates 19 consulting rooms and a special pharmacy and research laboratory which is capable of processing 11,000 blood and tissue samples every year.
Personalised oncology medicines
The early clinical trials centre, says the Christie, will help further the development of personalised oncology medicines as new biomarkers will be identified whilst drug studies are being undertaken. “This information will enable us to target medications to match a patient’s disease indication,” said Angela Ball, research manager at the Christie.
“This new centre will enable us to undertake even more research, ultimately saving lives across the world,” added The Christie’s CEO, Caroline Shaw.
“Through providing the highest quality environment and integrating clinical trials and chemotherapy services we will also be able to significantly improve the patient experience and ensure local patients can access the very best services and treatments,” said Shaw.