Oak Foundation Drug Development Unit

Oak Foundation Drug Development Unit is the largest oncology phase 1 clinical trials unit in Europe.


This is a busy and exciting unit where we deliver high quality nursing care to patients with advanced cancer who are receiving first-in-man clinical trials. Oak Foundation Drug Development Unit is made up of an inpatient ward, a day unit and an outpatient clinic.

The Oak Foundation Drug Development Unit vision is to “treat others as you would like to be treated yourselves”.

Inpatient ward

The inpatient ward has nine beds in two single-sex bays of four beds each and one single room for patients who require isolation for medical reasons. The day shift runs from 8am-8.30pm and the night shift from 8pm-8.30am. Both include a detailed patient handover.

Read more about inpatient care and discharge.

Day unit

The day unit contains eight treatment chairs and is where a number of different clinics are held:

  • the screening clinic is to ensure you fulfil all the criteria for the clinical trial you are due to take part in
  • the follow-up clinic is a general review by nurses and doctors to ensure that it is safe for you to continue with your clinical trial
  • the day care clinic is a general review by nurses, CNSs and doctors. It includes the administration of any intravenous treatments, post-dose assessments and CNS supportive therapies

Day care runs from 8am-6pm. If your day care treatment goes beyond 6pm the nurses on the ward will look after you until your treatment finishes then discharge you to go home.

Outpatient clinics

Oak Foundation Drug Development Unit's outpatient clinics includes the joint consultant clinic on Wednesdays and the new patient clinic with Professor Johann de Bono on Fridays. These clinics are held in the main Outpatients Department of the hospital.

Location, directions and parking

Oak Foundation Drug Development Unit is located on the third floor of the Sutton hospital in the West Wing. It is on the same floor as the chapel and the Therapies department. Oak Foundation Drug Development Unit is directly opposite you when you exit the big lift on the third floor.

Patients who are on a phase 1 clinical trial at the DDU can have their travel expenses reimbursed. This process normally takes between three and four weeks.

Visiting times

Visiting times are flexible but we ask visitors to avoid visiting during protected meal times on the ward:

  • Breakfast: 8am-9pm
  • Lunch: 12.30pm-2pm
  • Supper: 6pm-7pm

We also ask for no more than two visitors per bed.

When visiting, if you have concerns or questions please speak to the nurse looking after you or the ward sister or matron.

Facilities on Oak Foundation Drug Development Unit

We share a waiting room with the Therapies department where there is a television. There is also an electronic notice board in this room which will update you if clinics are running late.

If you are waiting for results, we encourage you to take a bleep so that you can visit the coffee shop or other facilities at the hospital.

Oak Foundation Drug Development Unit staff

Oak Foundation Drug Development Unit is run by a team of nurses, doctors, trial co-ordinators, data managers, laboratory technicians and other ancillary staff. All of them are dedicated to supporting our patients and their families while they take in a clinical trial.

Find out how to recognise different types of staff by their uniform.

Doctors in the ward and day unit work from 9am-5pm. Consultant ward rounds take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.