Multi-million pound awards to boost research and enable the development of more effective medicines, treatments and care for patients - news
By Laura Gallagher
Friday 19 August 2011
Two NHS Trusts in partnership with Imperial College London have received multi-million pound awards to boost research and enable the development of more effective medicines, treatments and care for patients, it was announced this week.
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Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the College have been given £112m by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), to fund their Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). This funding will enable the BRC to continue to carry out research in areas including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, neuroscience, renal medicine and transplantation, paediatrics and women's health.
The award, which will cover five years from April 2012, renews the funding granted to the Trust and the College by the NIHR in 2006 to establish the BRC. It forms part of the UK's largest ever investment in early stage health research, announced this week, which has given an £800m funding boost to 31 university and NHS partnerships.
Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have received the largest amount given to any partnership. Together, the College and the Trust form an Academic Health Science Centre, which aims to improve the quality of life of patients and populations by taking new discoveries and translating them into new therapies as quickly as possible.
In addition, research to help people living with complex heart and lung conditions has been recognised with a grant of almost £20 million to two Biomedical Research Units (BRUs) run jointly by Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College London. These two units are at the forefront of international research into the most challenging lung and heart conditions affecting patients around the world.
Announcing the awards, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "This unprecedented investment into the development of innovative medicines and treatments will have a huge impact on the care and services patients receive and help develop the modern, world-class health service patients deserve.
This level of renewed funding will allow us to continue developing world-leading innovations in healthcare and offering the most cutting edge treatments to patients in London and beyond.
– Sir Keith O'Nions
"A strong competitive science and research base is a crucial part of securing sustainable economic growth and creating jobs of the future, and we have some of the best scientists and facilities in the world. This investment will help ensure we continue to be at the cutting edge."
Sir Keith O'Nions, Rector of Imperial College London, said: "Imperial College London has always been dedicated not only to world class research but to ensuring that our scientific discoveries lead to real world impacts that benefit society as a whole. Our partnerships with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and with Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust are hugely important for delivering the outcomes of our medical research to patients and the scale of these new awards recognises just how successful these partnerships have been.
"This level of renewed funding for the Biomedical Research Centre at Imperial College Healthcare and the Biomedical Research Units at the Royal Brompton and Harefield will allow us to continue developing world-leading innovations in healthcare and offering the most cutting edge treatments to patients in London and beyond. I’m absolutely delighted that the NIHR has given us this support and I want to congratulate everyone at the Trusts and the College whose hard work has contributed to our success," he added.
Professor Jonathan Weber, the Head of Research and Development in the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London, the Director of Research at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and the Director of the BRC, said: "This award will allow us to characterise our diverse patient populations with the most advanced techniques in imaging, genotyping and phenotyping, paving the way for the rapid development of personalised medicine. We anticipate making real advances in patient care over the next five years of funding, bringing the science of Imperial into the clinic, for the benefit of our patients."
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust Chief Executive Mark Davies said: "This is fantastic news for our Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) and I would like to congratulate everybody who was involved in putting together our bid. The scale of the funding is a reflection of the breadth and quality of the research undertaken on our sites.
"At Imperial we see taking the latest scientific breakthroughs and translating them into better treatments and models of care as absolutely fundamental in fulfilling our mission to provide outstanding care to our patients."
Professor Eric Alton, director of the respiratory BRU, consultant physician at Royal Brompton Hospital, and professor of gene therapy and respiratory medicine at Imperial College London, said: "The starting point for our research always begins with the needs of the patients we treat every day. By investigating the causes of their conditions and testing new ways of diagnosing and treating them, we can deliver medical advances for the NHS and beyond. We have already made great strides forward in advanced lung disease and this further funding will enable us to build on these as well as train the next generation of researchers."
Professor Dudley Pennell, director of the cardiovascular BRU, consultant at Royal Brompton Hospital and professor of cardiology at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, said: "This is exceptionally good news for patients. We have already made great advances in both gene sequencing and imaging thanks to our initial BRU grant, and funding for another five years will enable us to continue our groundbreaking work. We have a duty to discover new treatments for heart disease, and investment on this scale from the NIHR gives us the best possible chance of doing so."
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