Internship in Ringshospitalet (Copenhagen)

The Phase I Clinical Trials Unit, focused on drug testing for the first time on the human being, was the very target of our internship.

In October 2011 we were given the possibility to visit the hospital Rigshospitalet in the Danish Copenhagen. The Phase I Clinical Trials Unit, focused on oncology, was the very target of our internship. The Unit is located in the Finsen Centre and is the integral part of the Department of Oncology. The Unit is devoted to early research phase of drugs in oncology, the Molecular Unit in Barcelona ( Vall d´Hebron) alike, and focused on testing the drugs “first in man“. The terminally ill patients thus have the possibility – with respect to their good physical condition and consent with clinical testing – to be treated by quite new drugs.

The Unit serves for in- as well as out-patients. It is headed by two specialists trained for the early phase clinical studies - by Ulrich Lassen, PhD. and by Morten Soresen, PhD., who are also responsible for the majority of phase I and II studies in this centre.

The team is also created by young physicians, PhD. students, six specialized nurses and two assistants. Existence of the Clinical Trials Unit as the integral part of the hospital goes without saying; the Clinical Trials Unit creates the solid base for normal operation of the Phase I Unit and also cooperates closely on phase III studies (trials). Specialized study coordinators, allocated for the specific study, are available here.

The workplace is not concerned only with research of new drugs initiated by pharmaceutical companies, but also plays the role of investigator of its own academic clinical studies. The team is also obliged to support the clinical studies initiated by the investigators, to participate in protocol design , etc.
The first day of our visit we have spent with my colleagues partly in the Phase I Unit and partly in the Clinical Trials Unit. We were given the possibility to discuss practical aspects of operation of the department and to meet specialists in the complementary disciplines. The second and final day of our stay was devoted to visit of the department of oncology, workplaces of radio diagnostics and radiotherapy.

Thanks to helpfulness of the physicians and another medical staff we were able to observe practical operation of the department , to make a clear picture about the requirements and demands for organization and about advantages of the dedicated workplace enabling specialized and individualized approach to incurable patients, while respecting ethic and legal aspects of the treatment.