Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit (PenCTU)

Welcome to the Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit (PenCTU) based within the Faculty of Health: Medicine, Dentistry and Human Sciences at the University of Plymouth.

The PenCTU is a leading academic clinical trials unit, with expertise in designing, developing, supporting and co-ordinating high quality, multi-centre clinical trials and other well-designed studies that will directly influence clinical and healthcare practice. 

PenCTU is a fully registered clinical trials unit in the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) and currently receives National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) CTU support funding. This funding has been awarded to support the Unit in developing and supporting NIHR research.

The PenCTU works in partnership with clinicians, researchers, the NIHR Research Design Service South West, the Clinical Research Network and other partners from across the South West Peninsula and beyond, starting with the funding application, to deliver the full spectrum of clinical trial expertise to applicable standards and regulations. 

PenCTU has considerable experience in drug trials, other non-drug interventional trials, trials of complex interventions, pilot trials and feasibility studies, across a broad range of clinical and health-related areas. If you are interested in working with us, please approach us at the earliest opportunity.

Imagine you’re a patient. There’s a new treatment that could help you and others like you, which scientists need to learn more about. You’ve been asked to join a clinical trial. But what does that entail?

Clinical trials are an important part of modern healthcare and understanding the best interventions that can help patients, and yet relatively few people will participate in one or even understand what they involve.

Without clinical trials to investigate if new treatments work for people, a considerable number of medicines and treatments would not be available.

The Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit (PenCTU) invites you to take part in a mock clinical trial with a treat, where you’ll be walked through a randomised controlled clinical trial from start to finish where the medicine really is sweet.


Tuesday 21 January, Rolle Reception, 12:00 – 13:00

Wednesday 22 January, Crosspoint, Roland Levinsky Building, 12:00 – 13:00

Research Festival 2020

The TARS Study

The £1.8m study managed by the PenCTU has reached the target of 900 participants randomised.

Over a 16 month period, teams at four locations in the UK (Plymouth, Nottingham, Oxford and South London) have been recruiting smokers who wish to cut down. Recruitment to TARS closed on 31 May 2019, with 915 participants recruited.

About half of the participants receive tailored support from a health trainer to improve their physical activity level as an aid to reduce smoking, and the other half receive the standard, recommended, advice available to smokers who wish to reduce or stop smoking. Over the next 9 months, participants will provide data for the study on their smoking, and their physical activity, health and wellbeing. 

Towards the end of 2020 we aim to report whether providing participants with tailored behavioural support to reduce their smoking (in addition to the usual support available), increases abstinence and physical activity level. 

More details about the study

NIHR at 10 – The Revert Study

An estimated 125,000 people in the UK are affected by supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) – a common heart rhythm disorder causing periods of abnormally fast heart rate. In emergency departments in the UK SVT is treated using the Valsalva manoeuvre, which involves breathing out moderately forcefully against resistance. Whilst safe, the success rate is low (5–20 per cent), and the alternative involves a dose of adenosine – an unpleasant experience that some patients report as a feeling of impending death.

More details about the study.

Image provided courtesy of the NIHR.

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