BRADFORD has been chosen for a major new centre which will enable patients to take part in cutting edge treatment trials – including for coronavirus (Covid-19).

The new Patient Recruitment Centre (PRC) will be hosted by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and run by the Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR), which is based at the Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI.)

It is one of five national PRCs announced by the Government, which are being set up across England and which have been made possible thanks to a £7 million Government investment. 

As the push is underway to find a cure for Covid-19, the PRC will be set up as a priority centre for treatment trials for the virus. 

It will also be one of the centres of choice recruiting large numbers of patients into the forthcoming vaccine trails for the virus.

The Bradford PRC – the only one to be set up in Yorkshire - will enable local patients to take part in late-phase commercial clinical research - studies funded by the life sciences industry - through which participants can access potentially cutting edge new drugs and treatments before they become widely available within the NHS.  

Under the management of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and run locally by BIHR, the Bradford centre will provide dedicated space, purpose-designed facilities and medical expertise to deliver clinical with the aim of increasing the number of studies being run across the region.  

During the on-going coronavirus pandemic, the new research centres will also increase opportunities for patients across the region to access trials assessing the latest potential treatments for COVID-19.

The centres have not been set up solely in response to Covid-19; they have been in long term development and during the pandemic they are they still going to be recruiting patients into trials unrelated to coronavirus.

Consultant Respiratory Physician and Assistant Director of the BIHR, Dr Dinesh Saralaya will become director of the new PRC.

He said: “This is great news for our Trust and the city of Bradford, which we now know as the ‘City of Research.’

"Being selected from a shortlist of over 35 trusts is simply a reflection of the hard work of all our research teams.

“This is also the net result of several years of excellent delivery into both early and late phase clinical trials at BTHFT and several Global first recruits.

"At Bradford we take pride in being the best. The new PRC will enable the wider community in Bradford and Yorkshire access cutting edge new therapies for various chronic medical conditions.

“In the current climate of finding a cure for Covid-19, the PRC will be set up as a priority centre to deliver on the various treatment trials for the virus. We will also be one of the centres of choice recruiting large numbers of patients into the forthcoming vaccine trails for Covid-19.”

Mel Pickup, Chief Executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “In these most difficult of times, the race to create effective treatments for COVID-19 is of critical national importance.

"I am delighted that Bradford Teaching Hospitals will be making a significant contribution to that and that the people of Bradford and the wider region will have the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Dr William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, said: “I am delighted to see funding awarded to these five centres across England. They will really increase opportunities for patients in the NHS to take part in research, will benefit the NHS and provide important investment to the country. 

“The importance of clinical research has never been more evident than in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The NIHR has been able to help fund and to support key research studies and trials into the basis, genetics, prognosis and, critically, to offer potential treatments, including the largest global clinical treatment trial in COVID-19.

"These centres now give us a further dimension and opportunity to offer large scale trials, for instance in vaccines for COVID-19, and to help deliver those at pace and scale. Looking further, they will help us build on our position as a great country to support life-sciences research.” 

Amber O'Malley, Chief Operating Officer, NIHR Clinical Research Network Yorkshire and Humber added: “This is an amazing achievement for the team at Bradford Teaching Hospitals to be selected as one of five Patient Recruitment Centres across England.

"There will be significant opportunities for patients in the region to take part in research and have access to cutting edge treatments and COVID-19 vaccine trials.”