Supporting clinical research in the NHS in England: the National Institute for Health Research Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network
1 Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Institute of Neurology, University College London, London WC1N 3BG, UK
2 Newcastle University, Wolfson Research Center, Institute of Ageing & Health, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE4 5PL, UK
Alzheimer's Research & Therapy 2012, 4:23 doi:10.1186/alzrt126Published: 6 July 2012
Clinical research is best done when aligned with clinical care - that is, when the patient can be identified, recruited and, in many instances, researched in parallel with the delivery of clinical service. However, to achieve this effectively requires identification of the additional cost to the National Health Service clinical support services and the development of an appropriately skilled workforce. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cancer Research Network demonstrated the value of dedicated research support in terms of the number of patients recruited into clinical trials. Building on this model, the NIHR in England funded the Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network (DeNDRoN). DeNDRoN is now in its sixth year and has established a geographically widespread network of research support staff and research leadership managed by a central coordinating centre. Success can already be measured by a significant increase in the number of patients entering studies and the speed with which both commercial and noncommercial studies are completed. There are also early indications that the network will result in improved patient outcomes.