Our Clinical Trials Units

We support the core infrastructure at eight UK Clinical Trials Units (CTUs) with a specific expertise in delivering cancer trials. Our CTUs deliver innovative and practice-changing clinical research that impacts the care and outcomes for cancer patients in the UK and across the world.

CTUs are specialist units with a specific remit to design, conduct, analyse and publish clinical trials and other well-designed studies. Trials may be early or late phase trials or population health-based studies. CTUs provide expert statistical, epidemiological and other methodological advice. They centrally coordinate the delivery of multi-centre trials, and have robust systems to conduct and deliver clinical trials to the highest quality standards. CTUs are also responsible for ensuring that studies are conducted in compliance with the UK regulations governing the conduct of clinical trials and report to all the appropriate agencies, including the Health Research Authority (HRA) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

We fund eight CTUs that specialise in cancer clinical trials. Seven of these are within the Clinical Research Committee Portfolio, focusing on a range of early and late phase clinical trials with clinical or biological endpoints. One CTU is in the Population Research Committee remit, with a focus on large screening and population research based studies.

CTU network objectives

Our network is guided by the strategic priorities set out in our Clinical Research Statement of Intent. The CTUs have shared scientific and operational objectives to deliver on the Statement of Intent, and we will work with CTUs to facilitate the delivery of these objectives.

How our CTUs work with others

Our CTUs are members of the NCRI CTU group and hold UKCRC CTU registration, which allows them to collaborate, network, and share expertise with other cancer and non-cancer trials units, and to work together to develop best practice and overcome common challenges.

The CTUs also work closely with the chief investigators leading on trials and with NCRI Clinical Studies Groups (CSGs) to develop trials and shape the cancer clinical research landscape in the UK and internationally.

Working with a CTU

Our CTUs are always in interested in hearing from academics and clinicians who have an idea for a cancer clinical trial and would like to work with a CTU to develop it. To find out more about how to work with a CTU, explore the list below to find an appropriate unit for your research.

Clinical Trial Fellowship

Our Clinical Trial Fellowship award supports clinicians with an interest in clinical trials and who would benefit from further training within a Clinical Trial Unit. Fellows receive up to three years of training, with funding to cover salary, running expenses and equipment.

Directory of CRUK Clinical Trials Units

Cardiff University: Wales Cancer Trials Unit

Director: Dr Richard Adams

The Wales Cancer Trials Unit focuses on research understanding the mechanisms that cause solid and blood cancers; as well as screening and early diagnosis and improved diagnosis, stratification, prevention and treatment strategies.

The Institute of Cancer Research: Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit (ICR-CTSU)

Director: Professor Judith Bliss

ICR-CTSU clinical trials focus on breast, urological and head and neck cancers, as well as in other rarer cancer types including melanoma, sarcoma and ovarian cancer. The CTU specialises in phase 2 exploratory and phase 3 randomised trials of new treatments and technologies (including radiotherapy), and understanding cancer biology and treatment response using biomarker-driven trial designs.

Liverpool University: CRUK Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit

Director: Professor Paula Ghaneh

The CRUK Liverpool CTU has a broad portfolio of clinical trials but with a particular emphasis on pancreas, liver, biliary, uveal, haematological, breast and urothelial malignancies.

Queen Mary, University of London: Cancer Prevention and Trials Unit (CPTU)

Director: Professor Peter Sasieni

The CPTU is the only trials unit in the UK with particular expertise in cancer prevention and screening. The Unit works to prevent cancer by facilitating high quality clinical trial research by providing the necessary support to enable scientifically excellent studies to be successfully completed and by producing evidence based interventions to prevent a wide range of cancers.

University College London: CRUK and UCL Cancer Trials Centre (CTC)

Director: Professor Jonathan Ledermann

The CTC is a research department within UCL Cancer Institute and closely associated with the CRUK Centre at UCL. Over the last 15 years the CTC has grown to be one of the largest cancer trials centres in the UK. Trials at the CTC cover a range of areas, most of which are based on evaluating chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. Tumour types covered include, brain cancer, gastrointestinal, gynaecological cancer, head & neck cancer, leukaemia, lung cancer, lymphomas and myeloma.

University of Birmingham: CRUK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU)

Director: Professor Pamela Kearns

The CRCTU is one of the largest cancer trials units in the UK and has been in existence for more than 30 years. The CRCTU specialise in the design, conduct and analysis of phase 1 to 4 cancer clinical trials for Investigators nationwide and internationally in a number of specialist areas including paediatric, lung, breast, gastrointestinal, gynaecological, urological and hepatobiliary cancer. The CRCTU has experience in trials involving investigational medicinal products, including first in man studies, radiotherapy, devices, surgery, allogenic stem cell transplantation, gene therapy, immunotherapy and biomarkers.

University of Glasgow: CRUK Clinical Trials Unit at the Glasgow Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre

Director: Dr Robert Jones

The Glasgow CTU co-ordinates a broad portfolio of phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials with an emphasis on translational research. The unit has particular expertise in the identification and assessment of molecular markers in the context of clinical trials aimed at a more rationally directed drug development and tailored treatment based on molecular pathology. The unit also drives the rapid advancement of novel anti-cancer therapeutics from the laboratory into the clinic to test their promise in early clinical trials.

University of Southampton: Southampton Clinical Trials Unit

Director: Professor Gareth Griffiths

The Southampton CTU runs clinical trials and other well designed studies with researchers across the UK and internationally. The unit has particular expertise in multi-centre phase 2 & phase 3 interventional trials but also works with local investigators on a variety of other study types. The CTU also has a specific interest in the rapid development of early phase studies where these are likely to lead to large phase 3 studies in the future to be run at the unit.

Joining our network from October 2018

University of Leeds: Leeds Clinical Trials Unit​

Director: Professor Julia Brown

More clinical research opportunities

We support a broad portfolio of clinical and translational research through response mode funding, partnership initiatives and investments in clinical infrastructure.

More research infrastructure

We fund a network of state-of-the-art facilities at 90 institutions across the UK. From basic science and drug discovery to experimental medicine and clinical trials, our infrastructure enables research throughout the pipeline.