The Clinical Research Site (CRS) at the Old Main Building of Groote Schuur Hospital is a nationally accredited site that forms part of the University of Cape Town Clinical Trials Unit. The study team consists of research investigators and study coordinators who manage pharmaceutical and investigator-driven clinical trials in both HIV prevention and treatment.
The CRS was the first clinic to offer life-saving antiretroviral therapy to public sector patients through clinical drug trials in the 1990s when treatment was unaffordable in the global South. It became the first dedicated HIV clinic in Cape Town, providing palliative, compassionate care in its early years, followed by the introduction of antiretroviral therapy in the mid-1990s.
Since the beginning of the programme, the clinic has managed over 60 pharmaceutical and investigator-driven clinical trials in both HIV prevention and treatment. It also carries out antiretroviral pharmaceutical drug trials for GlaxoSmithKline, Merck Sharpe & Dohme, Bristol-Myers Squibb, ViiV Healthcare and Gilead, amongst others.
Due to its proximity to Groote Schuur Hospital, the CRS also specialises in prevention studies that require the clinical environment as well as the diagnostic and interventional resources that a world-class academic hospital can offer. Currently, it is the only clinic in Africa participating in the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN) 2017 study, an international clinical trial that investigates HIV treatment and prevention in key populations, or groups with disproportionately high rates of contracting and transmitting HIV such as men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who inject drugs and sex workers.
In 2013, the CRS partnered with the University of Cape Town to establish an expanded trials unit at the Old Main Building of Groote Schuur Hospital, comprised of consulting and counselling rooms, a dedicated pharmacy and laboratory and a 24 bed-unit run by the Division of Clinical Pharmacology.