A new centre is being launched to create more opportunities for clinical and biomedical research in the north and to improve care within the region.
The new Northern Centre for Clinical Research (NCCR) is a collaboration between the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Medicine, and Northern Health.
It will be housed at UHNBC in Prince George with potential future satellite centres across northern B.C.
“Life sciences are vital to the public health-care system as new technology and treatment helps improve people’s lives,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.
“This new centre will work closely with northern and Indigenous health practitioners, patients and researchers towards a goal of better health outcomes.”
The NCCR will be focused on enabling clinical trials and research as well as a biomedical science that is relevant to northern, remote and Indigenous populations.
“This new centre will help foster collaborative clinical and medical life sciences research across the north,” said Fraser Bell, Vice President, Planning and Quality, Northern Health, “which we hope will lead to innovations in technologies, processes and practices that reflect rural and Indigenous geographical, social and cultural contexts.
“The NCCR will also provide more opportunities for northerners to participate in critical health studies such as clinical trials, enhancing health equity for those in the north and firmly embedding research in northern healthcare delivery.”
Clinical research, which includes both clinical trials and observational studies, helps find new and better ways to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat disease by involving volunteer participants in health research. Clinical trials help find the best options for patient care by studying the safety and effectiveness of new medical interventions, like a drug or medical devices.
In observational studies, researchers study participants receiving routine medical care to deepen their understanding of health and disease and identify opportunities to improve health delivery.
“We have a small but well-established group of health researchers in the north who are connected by rural interest and context, and this new centre will provide immeasurable opportunities for collaboration, networking and idea development,” says Dr. Kathy Lewis, interim Vice-President Research and Innovation, UNBC.
“The possibilities for dedicated northern clinical research are numerous and exciting. The NCCR will be responsive to emerging needs and available resources, and will hopefully evolve and grow over time.”
The new centre will also offer research training opportunities and mentoring for students, healthcare workers, and up-and-coming health investigators.