Professor Janet Darbyshire worked in medicine and then clinical trial based research from the early 1970s. Playing an instrumental role in the development of HIV treatment, she’s worked on and coordinated many clinical trial programmes in the UK and Africa. Last month we celebrated her achievements at a ceremony held within the Houses of Parliament, awarding Janet our most prestigious award, the MRC Millennium Medal. Here Janet tells us about her early memories of medicine, giraffes in Africa and the changes she’s seen her research make to people’s lives.
Career in brief
- Qualified in medicine at The University of Manchester in 1970
- MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 1990
- Became head of the MRC HIV Clinical Trials Centre in London in 1989
- In 1998 established, and became director of, the MRC Clinical Trials Unit (CTU)
- Awarded an OBE in 1996 and a CBE in 2010 for services to clinical sciences
For World TB Day 2017 Sarah Harrop looks back at 104 years of MRC-funded tuberculosis (TB) research, a history that unites scientists, industry, policy-makers and patients with a shared goal of ending TB.
In their quest to speed up the discovery of new treatments for patient benefit, MRC researchers at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit propose an efficient solution: the multi-arm clinical trial. But how do these trials work and why should the traditional two-arm clinical trial be the exception and not the rule? We asked Annabelle South, Policy, Communications & Research Impact Coordinator at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit, to explain this change in approach, as published in The Lancet.
Randomised controlled trials are the best way of finding out if new treatments are better than the current standard treatment. But trials take a long time to set up and run, and can be expensive.
Here at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL we are keen to find faster and more efficient ways of working out which treatments work best, so patients can benefit sooner. That’s why we are urging researchers and drugs companies to move away from the traditional ‘two-arm’ approach to trials, and adopt more innovative, efficient approaches like the multi-arm trial.