Developing a network in a neglected area of clinical research: the UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network

Author(s): Carron Layfield, Tessa Clarke, Kim Thomas, Hywel Williams

The UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network (UK DCTN) was established in 2002 to address our collective ignorance on the treatment of skin disease. Although started with just a good idea and goodwill, the UK DCTN has grown into a UK-wide collaborative group of over 600 members running five fully funded clinical trials. The aim of the UK DCTN is simple: to conduct high quality, independent, multicenter, randomized controlled clinical trials for the prevention or treatment of skin disease. This article describes how the UK DCTN was set up, how such firm foundations have helped it grow and future plans to extend the concept globally. We hope this will be useful to others developing research networks in smaller clinical specialties and other countries.