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Welcome to the UK Clinical Trials Gateway

Thank you for visiting the UK Clinical Trials Gateway. We hope it gives you a clear understanding of what is involved if you participate in a clinical trial. If you decide to sign up so that researchers can contact you about trials that might be suitable, you can do so here. You can also search this site in various ways to find trials relevant to you and contact researchers yourself.

But, before doing any of this, you may have questions about trials, what they are and how they work. Indeed, you may have come to this site because your doctor has invited you to join a trial but you want to know more before you decide.

Taking part in medical research is a big step. It can potentially deliver great benefits to you or a loved one but it may also involve some inconvenience or risk. This site includes plenty of information about what a trial involves and what you can expect if you take part (more here).

We hope the general information about trials is useful. You may find that individual trial records contain complex scientific and medical terms and are hard to understand. We are working to address this (more here) and hope that you are able to find out what you need from the contact named on the trial record or from your own doctor.

We continue to introduce and test new features on the site and welcome your feedback and comments.If you have any general questions about the UKCTG website or suggestions about how we can improve it, please feel free to contact us at

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Latest research findings

from the NIHR Dissemination Centre

New casting technique is an option for older people with ankle fracture
A new casting technique called “close contact casting” is an alternative to surgery for older people with ankle fracture. Ankle function at six months was similar in people who had casting and those who had surgery but there are some disadvantages to both that patients and surgeons could consider. This UK-based NIHR trial recruited 620 people aged over 60 years with an unstable ankle fracture that would usually be fixed with surgery. People who had a cast were less likely to have infections or wound problems than those who had surgery. However, one in five people in the casting group had to undergo surgery later because their fracture was not healing in the right position. Close contact casting was around £650 cheaper than surgery, and was very likely to be cost effective at current NHS thresholds. Participants are being followed up for another year and a half to assess longer term outcomes such as arthritis and this will further help in balancing the benefits and harms of these options.
18 April 2017

Fortified donor breast milk led to similar development for very-low-birthweight babies compared with formula milk
Providing very-low-birthweight babies with fortified human donor breast milk made no difference to their developmental neurological outcomes at 18 months compared with giving formula. This randomised controlled trial looked at 363 babies with birth weights of less than 1500g in neonatal intensive care units in Canada. When the mother’s own milk supply was limited, the babies were given either nutrient-enriched donor breast milk or formula developed for premature babies. There was no difference in their understanding, language, or ability to manipulate objects at 18 months. This finding might help to reduce anxiety about providing formula in areas where donor breast milk is difficult to obtain. However, the research was focussed on developmental outcomes rather than potential effects of donor breast milk on other risks of prematurity, such as immunity or gastrointestinal complications. This trial will continue to collect data to re-assess developmental outcomes when the children reach five years of age.
18 April 2017

Antibiotics by injection into the eye can prevent severe infection following cataract surgery
Injecting the antibiotics vancomycin or moxifloxacin into the eyeball after eye surgery can reduce the risk of developing severe infection inside the eye (endophthalmitis) compared to other routes. Cefuroxime is currently the antibiotic of choice for this in the UK, but researchers wanted to see if drugs with lower rates of resistance might also be effective. A review of 34 studies, mostly observational studies with nine randomised controlled trials (RCTs), explored the effects of different types of antibiotic regimens on the risk of endophthalmitis in people who had received eye surgery. There were no randomised trials of vancomycin or moxifloxacin injections but there were nine observational studies that linked to fewer infections with use of the injection. Another, more recent, review also includes an RCT of cefuroxime injections into the eye. This shows that this drug is also effective when compared to surface antibiotics or injections just under the surface. Therefore, the main question remains the choice of antibiotic. There is always a trade-off between using antibiotics to prevent infection and keeping them effective for treating other infections. Vancomycin is the drug of choice for MRSA infections, with few other options, but resistance is increasing. Widespread use to prevent eye infection following surgery has been discouraged for this reason. There are similar concerns for the use of moxifloxacin. So although the resistance to cefuroxime might also be rising, careful consideration of all the “pros and cons” including drug resistance will be required before prescribing guidance and antibiotic stewardship guidance can be offered. Without firm guidelines, there is likely to be continued variation in practice.
11 April 2017

Counselling services help expectant mothers quit smoking
Counselling services, including cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing, help women to stop smoking during pregnancy by increasing quit rates. Feedback and financial incentives may also be effective, though evidence is weaker for both. Education alone and peer support were not found to be effective. Some of the counselling interventions are already at least partly supplied through NHS Stop Smoking Services – two of the UK trials recruited through the Service. When pooled together, these non-pharmacological interventions, called psychosocial interventions, increased the chances of quitting by over 40% and reduced the chance of giving birth to a low birthweight baby by 17%, and chance of admission to a neonatal ward by 22%. Smoking during pregnancy is associated with poor health outcomes for mother and child. This high quality Cochrane review included 102 relevant trials in which the researchers had high confidence. It suggests that psychosocial interventions can help pregnant women quit, but that health education alone is not sufficient. Interventions may need to be targeted for deprived and underserved populations, although it remains unclear how they should be implemented into routine pregnancy care.
11 April 2017

More research news on clinical trials

Better healthcare starts with you

The UK Clinical Trials Gateway is designed to help you participate in clinical trials running in the UK.

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