NIHR supports several infrastructure initiatives at Imperial, and the NIHR Imperial BRC works in close partnership with them to ensure synergistic and rapid translation of discovery science into clinic. One of these initiatives is the NIHR Imperial Clinical Research Facility (CRF), which runs human volunteer and proof-of-concept studies led by BRC researchers, and any external and commercial studies where a Principal Investigator is within the Imperial College AHSC. To get a better understanding of the NIHR Imperial CRF and what they offer, we caught up with Dr Karen Mosley, General Manager of the NIHR Imperial CRF.
What is the NIHR Imperial CRF?
The NIHR Imperial CRF [ICRF] is a purpose-built clinical research facility occupying the ground floor of the Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine (ICTEM) building at the Hammersmith Hospital campus. We are funded by NIHR to support early phase clinical trials and experimental medicine studies across all disciplines. The ICRF provides clinical accommodation for both patient and healthy volunteer research studies, together with experienced research nurses, physicians, and operational/regulatory staff.
What does your role entail?
I am responsible for the business, financial and regulatory aspects of the ICRF and provide operational leadership, together with management of the operational, regulatory and laboratory teams.
What is the most appealing aspect of your role?
I am very lucky in that there are many appealing aspects of my role; the most important one being that I work with a fantastic team, who are talented, dedicated and extremely friendly. I really enjoy the troubleshooting aspects, particularly relating to the facilitation of new studies that can’t be run elsewhere. It is also particularly satisfying when we manage to bring in renewed NIHR awards and submit the annual reports. The fact that we are supporting studies that could ultimately go on to make life changing differences is always inspiring.
What kind of studies are carried out at the ICRF?
We generally have around 120 studies either open or in set up at any time. Roughly 25% of these are early phase clinical trials of investigational medicinal products [CTIMP: drug trials] and the rest are mainly experimental medicine studies. The main disciplines that we support are metabolic and endocrine, cancer, cardiovascular, mental health, neurological, renal, infection and blood, but we are open to all disciplines.
What is the biggest challenge you encounter as the ICRF Manager?
The biggest challenge is ensuring that all studies using the CRF are run to Good Clinical Practice (GCP) standards. We therefore insist that all researchers have undergone rigorous training before they are able to use the CRF, include ICRF SOP reading relevant to their studies.
What would one piece of advice be to investigators wanting to use the NIHR Imperial CRF?
Come and talk to us as soon as you consider using the ICRF. We can provide costs for grants and help with study design and submissions as well as running/supporting the study once it is set up. Although we will charge in full for commercially funded studies, we are very flexible in our charges for academic studies, so even if you haven’t included costs for our use, we may still be able to help you.
Image: NIHR Imperial Clinical Research Facility Team.