The CRU was established in 1995 and is Norway’s leading center for phase I/II clinical cancer trials. It consists of oncologists, study nurses, project managers, and a secretary; all of whom have a vast experience with clinical trials.
The CRU is a unit at Oslo University Hospital’s Cancer Clinic. The Cancer Clinic has approximately 800 man-years and 150 physicians who combine patient care and cancer research. There are approximately 300 employees at the Institute for Cancer Research.
The CRU runs its trials in cooperation with cancer researchers from the hospital as well as the pharmaceutical industry. The center is one of few in Scandinavia that has the expertise and experience in testing new cancer treatments. Immunotherapies are an example of drugs that have been systematically tested at the CRU as phase I/II trials. In phase 1 trials the purpose is to gain knowledge about safety and side effects of drugs that have shown promise in laboratory and animal studies. The drug is here given in low doses until the right dose is discovered. Once the right dose has been established the drug continues testing in a phase II trial where the purpose is to test if the cancer responds to the treatment. The CRU also runs phase III trials where the purpose is to compare the new drug with standard treatment. Every trial is approved by the Norwegian Medicines Agency and the Regional Ethics Committee.
We accept patients from all over Norway and we cooperate with leading cancer centers in Scandinavia (Nordic NECT), Europe, and the USA.
The majority of the treatments are done as out-patient care. If a patient has significant travel time it is possible to arrange accommodation at the hospital’s hotel. A patient may be admitted as an in-patient if more observation or follow-up is necessary.
The CRU always has approximately 25-30 ongoing trials with patients in treatment or follow-up. The majority of cancer diagnoses are represented in the trials and we have an ongoing cooperation with other oncologists at the hospital. Early-phase trials involving children are performed at the hospital’s Children’s Clinic, but in cooperation with the CRU. Close cooperation with the Institute for Cancer Research (Department of Cellular Therapy and Department of Tumor Biology) has enabled the CRU vast experience with researcher-initiated trials and translational research.
The CRU can also offer advice and help to external companies or physicians with limited experience in clinical trials. This includes protocol-writing, patient consent forms and help with applications to the Norwegian Medicines Agency, and other tasks that are involved with a sponsor’s role.
Team effort and cooperation between oncologists, nurses, project managers, and the pharmaceutical industry is paramount to running high-quality clinical trials.