Definition of Clinical Research Center

Reviewed on 6/3/2021

Clinical Research Center: (CRC) A key resource for clinical research. Also called a General Clinical Research Center (GCRC). One in a national network of centers in the US that provide optimal settings for medical investigators to conduct safe, controlled, state-of-the-art, in-patient and out-patient studies of both children and adults. GCRCs also provide infrastructure and resources that support several career development opportunities.

Investigators who have research project funding from NIH and other peer-reviewed sources may use GCRCs. To request access to a GCRC facility, eligible investigators initially contact a GCRC program director. Because the GCRCs support a full spectrum of patient-oriented scientific inquiry, researchers who use these centers can benefit from collaborative, multidisciplinary research opportunities. To ensure research diversity at the GCRCs, no single group of investigators at a center may utilize more than 33% of the resources.

The individuality of each GCRC is determined by the research strengths and needs of its host institution. GCRC resources include highly trained research personnel, a core laboratory, a bioinformatics system, and a metabolic kitchen. The GCRC research staff--nurses, dietitians, biostatisticians, skilled technicians, and administrative personnel--help investigators by facilitating the day-to-day research process and assisting the research patients in a supportive and efficient environment.

Federal regulations and policies protect subjects in clinical research protocols, ensuring that their safety is given the highest priority. These regulations complement the policies of academic institutions that host the GCRCs. Proper performance of research consent and oversight procedures makes demands on the time of already-busy clinician researchers. To address these demands, the NCRR has created a Research Subject Advocate position within each GCRC. The purpose of this position is to assure that all steps are taken to maximize patient safety as detailed in the protocols approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

A GCRC grant supports the components essential to clinical research: operating expenditures, hospitalization and ancillary laboratory costs, and salaries of key personnel including nurses, research bionutritionists, administrators, core laborat


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