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New director appointed at MRC Clinical Trials Unit

11 December 2009

Professor Mahesh (Max) Parmar has been appointed as the Director of the Medical Research Council’s Clinical Trials Unit (CTU). He will take up his appointment on 1 March 2010 on the retirement of the current Director, Janet Darbyshire.

The Medical Research Council’s Clinical Trials Unit is one of the UK’s leading centres for clinical research. It specialises in cancer and HIV/AIDS, but also undertakes research in other areas, including rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis and mental health. The MRC Clinical Trials Unit employs around 200 staff and is currently co-ordinating around 60 trials and meta-analyses.

Commenting on his new appointment, Professor Parmar said:

"My aim will be to build on the excellent work in the Unit to improve outcomes as rapidly as possible in a number of major diseases through our research. We will also increase our focus on developing new methods to improve the design, conduct and analysis of research studies".

Parmar is currently Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at University College London, and since 1998 has been Head of the Cancer Group at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit. He is Director of the Hub for Trials Methodology, formed in 2009, as part of the MRC Clinical Trials Unit.

Parmar joined the MRC in 1987. An applied statistician, his background is in tackling key issues in the treatment of different cancers, both by conducting clinical trials and through innovative designs and methodology. He has expanded his work beyond cancer and become involved in a large-scale trial of the drug Naloxone to prevent overdose deaths soon after release from prison and a trial of stem cell therapy to treat cardiovascular disease.

He was a founding member and has been an Associate Director of the National Cancer Research Network since its inception in 2001, an organisation that has more than doubled the number of patients going into cancer studies in England.

MRC Chief Executive Sir Leszek Borysiewicz said:

"Professor Parmar is perfectly placed to lead the CTU to exploit the new research opportunities which are changing the landscape of clinical research, and ensuring the CTU and the MRC remain at the forefront of improving public health in the UK and internationally."