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Ear, Nose and Throat

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Gastroenterology

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Hepatology

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Infection

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Respiratory

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Gene Therapy

Enquiries


Contact Specialty Cluster B
Marwa Soussi

marwa.soussi@nihr.ac.uk
+44 (0)20 7594 9822

The Cluster supports the leadership of five NIHR CRN Specialty Groups at a national level, providing a national forum to share good practice, successes, opportunities and challenges, as well as, sharing specialist knowledge essential for the success of the CRN. The Cluster oversees Specialty activities including, engaging with external stakeholders and customers to further the aims of the NIHR CRN; promoting engagement, placement and subsequent delivery of clinical research, as well as, acting as ambassadors of the NIHR CRN.


 Another function of the Cluster is to partner with Imperial College London clinical experts to provide leadership in the Emerging Technology and Innovation areas of Gene and Cell Therapy and Community Clinical Research Facility for the CRN. Both focus areas are considered as cross-cutting disciplines recognised by the NIHR CRN as being of critical importance to the national research portfolio.

Working with the clinical expertise based at Imperial College London, the Cluster aims to facilitate a series of projects to ensure the effective and efficient support for the delivery of high-quality clinical research in the NHS across these areas.

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We focus on seven core areas - expand below to find out more.

Ear, nose and throat

The Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialty, led by Professor Anne Schilder, is one of 30 clinical research specialties which bring together communities of clinical practice to provide networks of research expertise. Our membership is made up of research-interested clinicians and practitioners at both national and local levels. 

Last year (2019/2020) the NIHR supported 76 studies and recruited 2,642 patients to ENT studies. The NIHR supported these studies through our funding programmes, research schools and units. 

The research supported by the ENT specialty includes studies involving Otology, Neurotology/Skull Base Surgery, Rhinology, Head and Neck including Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery and Laryngology. 

Find out more you can visit our website at: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/nihr-in-your-area/ent/

Access our Study Support Service online at: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/funding-and-support/study-support-service/

Gastroenterology

The Gastroenterology Specialty, led by Professor Mark Hull, is one of 30 specialties which bring together communities of clinical practice to provide networks of research expertise and clinical leadership. It is made up of research-interested clinicians and practitioners who work at both national and local levels to ensure the studies that are included in our portfolio of research are delivered successfully in the NHS. 

Last year (2019/2020) the NIHR supported 232 studies and recruited 28,840 patients to Gastroenterology studies. 

Find out more you can visit our website at: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/nihr-in-your-area/gastroenterology/

Access our Study Support Service online at: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/funding-and-support/study-support-service/

Hepatology

The Hepatology Specialty, led by Professor William Rosenberg, is one of 30 specialties which bring together communities of clinical practice to provide networks of research expertise and clinical leadership. It is made up of research-interested clinicians and practitioners who work at both national and local levels to ensure the studies that are included in our portfolio of research are delivered successfully in the NHS. 

Last year (2019/2020) the NIHR supported 142 studies on the Hepatology portfolio and recruited 10,931 patients to Hepatology studies. 

Find out more you can visit our website at: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/nihr-in-your-area/hepatology/

Access our Study Support Service online at: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/funding-and-support/study-support-service/

Infection

The Infection Specialty, led by Dr Andrew Ustianowski and Professor William Hope, is one of 30 specialties which bring together communities of clinical practice to provide networks of research expertise and clinical leadership. It is made up of research-interested clinicians and practitioners who work at both national and local levels to ensure the studies that are included in our portfolio of research are delivered successfully in the NHS. 

Last year (2019/2020) the NIHR supported 221 studies and recruited 43,524 patients to Infection studies. 

In addition, we support research in Urgent Public Health situations. Urgent public health outbreaks can cause serious risk to human health. In the event of an urgent public health outbreak (e.g. a pandemic) the NIHR must be able to rapidly set-up relevant research studies and ensure that these studies are successfully conducted so that their findings can inform the on-going care of patients during the outbreak. 

Find out more you can visit our website at: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/nihr-in-your-area/infection/

Access our Study Support Service online at: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/funding-and-support/study-support-service/

Respiratory disorders

The Respiratory Disorders Specialty, led by Professor Anthony De Soyza, is one of 30 specialties which bring together communities of clinical practice to provide networks of research expertise and clinical leadership. It is made up of research-interested clinicians and practitioners who work at both national and local levels to ensure the studies that are included in our portfolio of research are delivered successfully in the NHS. 

Last year (2019/2020) the NIHR supported 303 studies, and recruited 27,314 patients to Respiratory Disorders studies. 

Find out more you can visit our website at: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/nihr-in-your-area/respiratory/

Access our Study Support Service online at: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/funding-and-support/study-support-service/

Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products

An ATMP is a medicinal product which is either i) a gene therapy, ii) a somatic cell therapy, or iii) a tissue engineered product. There are currently ~90 ATMP trials ongoing in the UK, and ~1000 worldwide. The Cluster undertook scoping to identify challenges that may be contributing to the low number of trials in the UK, identifying:

  • Lack of specialised training across multiple groups
  • Restricted access to infrastructure and lack of clarity as to the infrastructure needed
  • Clarifying the role of pharmacy professionals
  • No single industry offering

However, the biggest challenge related to the number of enthusiastic stakeholders duplicating each other’s work. Our simple solution has been to pull together a NIHR ATMP Coordinating Group
chaired by Cluster B and including all relevant stakeholders (Figure).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working Groups deliver the day-to-day business and include (lead):

Education and workforce (Uta Griesenbach, Professor of Molecular Medicine at Imperial College and British Society for Gene and Cell Therapy President): Developing training and educational programmes and activities for the entire workforce impacted by ATMP studies.

Pan UK ATMP Pharmacy (Anne Black, Regional QA Specialist Pharmacist and Nicola Stoner, Cancer Consultant Pharmacist): Developing guidelines and providing expertise on pharmacy processes and pathways required for ATMP studies.

Infrastructure and Governance (Joanna Gray, UK Clinical Research Facility Clinical Manager, Birmingham): Ensuring that NHS Trusts have the necessary infrastructure and knowledge required to be involved in ATMP studies

Industry (Madina Kara, NOCRI Senior Research Collaboration Manager): Developing a single ATMP offering for the UK, which can be used by all industry entry points.

Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (Jayne Spink, CEO, Genetic Alliance UK): Aiming to enable members of the public and patients to become more aware of and involved in ATMP studies.

 

Community-based research

As part of the Community-Based Research emerging technology and innovation area (ETI) we are looking to answer two specific questions:

  1. How can people with known health issues who are only being reviewed ‘on the high street’ access research?
  2. How can people with known health risk factors, but are pre disease diagnosis, access research?

These two groups currently potentially miss out on research opportunities because they don't come into the standard health system until they are either considered to be too severe for High Street treatment (in the case of group 1), or they already have a health problem (in the case of group 2).

We are looking to develop a process by which we can actively recruit participants for trials before they need to access the health service, thus enabling recruitment of milder disease and pre-disease phenotypes with a focus on disease prevention.  

Working together across the Clinical Research Network (CRN) Coordinating Centre and the Local Clinical Research Networks (LCRNs) the project involves:

  • Scoping the need for such participants
  • Developing the processes for their recruitment into Portfolio studies. 

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Specialty Cluster B members

  • Professor Eric Alton

    Professor Eric Alton

    Personal details

    Professor Eric Alton NIHR CRN Cluster B Lead

    +44 (0)20 7594 7937

  • Tracy Harman

    Tracy Harman

    Personal details

    Tracy Harman NIHR CRN Assistant Specialty Cluster B Lead

    +44 (0)20 7594 7932

    Affiliations

     

  • Reshma Sultan

    Reshma Sultan

    Personal details

    Reshma Sultan NIHR CRN Cluster B General Manager

    +44 (0)20 7594 9978

  • Marwa Soussi

    Marwa Soussi

    Personal details

    Marwa Soussi CRN Administrative Assistant

    +44 (0)20 7594 9822

  • Beverley Burchill

    Beverley Burchill

    Personal details

    Beverley Burchill CRN National Specialities Administrator and PA

    +44 (0)20 7594 9977