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The William Harvey Research Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
Clinical Research Centre

William Harvey Clinical Research Centre (CRC)

The Clinical Research Centre (CRC) is part of the National Institute for Health and Care Research Barts Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and part of the world-leading cardiovascular research programme at the Barts Heart Centre.

The CRC was established in 1997 and moved to the William Harvey Heart Centre in 2011. Initially, the centre focused on blood pressure and cholesterol studies (such as ASCOT, Pathway and ILLUMINATE). The centre has since widened its portfolio to include diabetes/renal, endocrine, respiratory and cognitive decline studies. The CRC runs all types of studies ranging from niche complex studies on rare disease to large-scale scale trials and health service interventions.

The centre runs clinical trials (Phase II to IV) in multiple therapeutic areas. As well as clinical trials of investigational medicinal products (CTIMPs) the centre also runs device trials and other observational studies. We have a broad portfolio of studies and involve Principal Investigators from Barts Health Trust as well as from Queen Mary University of London.

We are involved in a number of  and work closely with GP practices serving approximately 500,000 people in East London.

Our vision is to be a world-class clinical research centre conducting globally influential trials that make a positive impact on patient care locally. We aim to:

  • Build on our international, reputation in translational and clinical research.
  • Play a key role in the cardiovascular research programme at the Barts Heart Centre.
  • Offer patients a large portfolio of clinical trials that they can participate in.
  • Promote the public understanding of clinical trials.

Our values are central to how we work to achieve our aims. We work in a way that is:

  • Focused on safety and quality of patient care.
  • Conducive to building ongoing relationships with local GP practices and Principal Investigators within Barts Trust.
  • In line with Good Clinical Practice and provision of a quality service.

Our strategic goals are to:

  • Increase patient participation in clinical trials.
  • Diversify our portfolio of studies.
  • Ensure the conduct of our trials is to the highest quality standards.
  • Deliver our studies on time and target.

The CRC has strong links with Barts Health NHS Trust. Barts is the UK's largest NHS Trust and the Barts Heart Centre is the largest tertiary heart hospital in the UK. Cardiovascular research activities will expand in the coming together of the research groups from the London Chest Hospital and the UCL Heart Hospital.

The University College London Partners (UCLP) IQVIA Prime Site based here, has now expanded across UCLP. It is the world’s largest Prime Site. The Prime Site concentrates clinical trials across multiple therapeutic areas in a single hub and last year was one of the top recruiters worldwide. London is the most active research area within England and we have access to a large and ethnically diverse patient population in inner London.         

  • The first UK renal denervations were done here in 2008 and the first twin-artery denervations in the world. These studies have resulted in two Lancet publications.
  • ASCOT, now with a long-term follow-up study ASCOT-10, has been one of the most influential trials in cardiovascular prevention, with over 100 papers and atorvastatin has become the biggest selling medication in the world.
  • Hi-Lo with over 9,000 patients has been the highest accruing study on the NIHR portfolio for several years. After the Hi-Lo intervention Tower Hamlets went from worst to best for control of blood pressure and cholesterol control.
  • The CRC is often one of the highest recruiters globally on the studies on our portfolio.

Currently, the centre has circa forty clinical trials with about thirty open to recruitment.

An approximate breakdown of trials by type:

  • Cardiovascular (55%)
  • Diabetes and endocrinology (10%)
  • Respiratory (25%)
  • Mental health and neurology (10%) 
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