TUF Urological Trials Unit

The role of the TUF Trials Unit (TTU) is to identify promising and important research ideas from urology units and provide a team of medical investigators to bring those ideas to fruition. This approach will enable more high-quality urology trials to take place, leading to better care, quicker recovery times and fewer long-term issues.

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Trials are an important way of measuring a medical, surgical or behavioural intervention and successful trials are catalysts for change, provide potential for transformational discoveries and drive improvements in services.

The TUF Trials Unit was launched in 2021 in partnership with The Centre for Healthcare Randomised Trials (CHaRT) and draws upon the knowledge and input of the urology community. The unit receives pump-prime funding from The Urology Foundation which is expected to provide multi-disciplinary support to develop study protocols and grant applications in urology.

Planning a trial?

The CHaRT team may be able to advise on a wide range of research-related issues, including all aspects of research design and methodology.

What are the criteria for a good urological trial?

Addresses an important question. The RCT must address a question that is clinically important to the urological community. TUF and CHaRT will consider each trial on its merits, but particular attention will be paid to studies which are likely to be of landmark status.

Necessary. A proper review of the evidence base (including a formal overview of relevant Randomised Controlled Trials) should indicate that an RCT is needed.

Feasible. Many RCTs fail to proceed in line with expectations, in particular failing to recruit and retain the required number of participants. The assumptions behind the study would be critically reviewed, with evidence sought up-front that these assumptions are reasonable. If no such reassurance is possible, then it will be sought from a pilot study or early returns as the study commences. The study should be led by a Chief Investigator with the correct blend of experience and clinical credibility.

Financially viable. CHaRT and the Chief Investigator’s host institution involvement with a study must be appropriately financed. We will work with prospective Chief Investigators to ensure grant applications cover the true cost of engagement in the study (in terms of its expense of staff costs and consumables).

Opportunity for innovation: TUF, BAUS and CHaRT are keen to explore methodological advances in RCT design, analysis, conduct and reporting, for example, trials involving novel IT applications, trials in difficult settings, that could raise standards for all trials in urology.

Background and CHaRT

Following the call for applicants in 2020, the TUF Trials programme received an application from about 1/3 of all relevant CTUs in the UK.  There was a rigorous multi-tiered process to the review.

The winning bid came from the CHaRT team based at the University of Aberdeen and led by Professor Graeme MacLennan and Professor James N’Dow.

CHaRT was established in 2004 and received full registration status from the UKCRC in November 2007. CHaRT comprises of over 35 members of staff.

CHaRT’s goal is to collaborate in high quality Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs), providing access to the core competencies of experienced trialists, trial management, data processing and management, statistics, health economics and health psychology. Through scientific and technical partnership, CHaRT will address important health questions in the increasingly challenging scientific, legal and regulatory environment in which RCTs will be conducted.

For more on the CHaRT team, please click here.

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