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Launched in 2023, the Oxford CRUK Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) is the first dedicated unit in the UK aiming to deliver a a portfolio of precision prevention and early detection cancer trials. It is a partnership between Oxford’s Oncology Clinical Trials Office (OCTO) and the Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit (PC-CTU).

Clinical trial patient receiving treatment with a smiling nurse

Currently, nearly half of all cancers are diagnosed at a late stage when they are harder to treat successfully.

The Oxford CRUK CTU team will trial new strategies for detecting cancer earlier and undertake so-called precision prevention trials – trials of targeted preventative therapies in groups of people at a defined higher risk of cancer. 

Many of the interventions tested by the CTU will have evolved from Oxford’s translational cancer early detection and precision prevention research, coordinated by the Oxford Centre for Early Cancer Detection (OxCODE). The trials run by the CTU are designed to collect valuable samples over a period of time that can be studied by researchers to provide insights into cancer development and to identify the next generation of detection biomarkers and targets for prevention.

The CTU ultimately aims to reduce the burden of cancer care on the NHS.