New centres to carry out more clinical trials in Norway



    Six NorTrials centres for clinical research have been established at the university hospitals. Their objective is to increase the number of clinical trials and improve patient treatment.

    We know that patients treated in institutions where clinical trials are undertaken have better outcomes (1). This is in part because the activity around clinical research improves the quality of the treatment provided to patients. Since 2000, the number of clinical trials in Norway has decreased, and patients, institutions and the political management now want to reverse this trend. The National Action Plan for Clinical Trials, launched by the Ministry of Health and Care Services in 2021, aims to integrate clinical research in daily hospital activities and patient treatment and double the number of clinical trials in the period 2021–25 (2).



    NorTrials, a public-private partnership between the specialist health service and the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, was established in 2022 as part of the investment in clinical research. The government commissioned the implementation of NorTrials to the regional health trusts. NorTrials is organised through a board of directors, a coordinating unit and six NorTrials centres. The centres are located at the university hospitals throughout the country and receive annual grants over the state budget for establishing infrastructure and networks in their respective specialties. Focus will be on offering more clinical trials to Norwegian patients, locally as well as nationally, in collaboration with the industry and patient organisations. In addition to the centres, support functions for performing clinical trials throughout the country (equivalent to 10–15 full-time positions) is included in the funding, as well as promotion of Norway as an attractive country for clinical trials, in collaboration with Innovation Norway.

    Research areas

    Research areas

    The NorTrials centres were selected in collaboration between the regional health authorities and the industrial partners.

    NorTrials Gastrointestinal is located at the University Hospital of North Norway. The hospital's gastroenterology and nutrition research group has initiated and implemented clinical trials and established a network of representatives from all health regions over many years. The centre is affiliated with the endoscopy unit, since many trials related to gastrointestinal diseases involve procedures that need to be performed there.

    NorTrials Brain Health is located at Haukeland University Hospital and organised through the R&D department, Section for Research and Innovation, and the Neurology Department at Neuro-SysMed, Centre for Clinical Research. As indicated by its name, the centre will focus on brain health, which includes the specialties of neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry and neuropaediatrics.

    NorTrials Inflammation is located at Stavanger University Hospital. The hospital's research group for clinical immunology has for many years engaged in interdisciplinary research on autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases.

    NorTrials Cardiovascular is located at Akershus University Hospital. The NorTrials centre will be part of an established clinical research community in cardiology, with a broad range of competencies and established networks nationally and internationally. The centre will collaborate closely with the hospital's data warehouse, which will enable valuable insight into the patient population for purposes of recruitment to clinical trials.

    NorTrials Cancer is located at Oslo University Hospital. The centre will focus on practical assistance and advice related to clinical trials. A good relationship with hospitals and industrial partners has already been established, including through the IMPRESSNorway study and the Norwegian Centre for Clinical Cancer Research (MATRIX).

    NorTrials Medical Devices is located at the Operating Room of the Future, Department of Research, St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital. Through nationwide collaboration, the NorTrials Centre for Medical Devices will help improve coordination and increase the number of hospitals that participate in trials involving medical equipment, in cooperation with national and international industry partners.

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