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CRF staff present talks, support workshops and volunteer at the 12th annual UK CRF Network Conference

Colleagues from the  NIHR / Wellcome Trust Manchester Clinical Research Facility (CRF) have enjoyed the 12th annual UK CRF Network Conference.

The UKCRF Network supports 50 CRFs across the UK and Ireland (including here in Manchester), with the aim of identifying, developing and sharing systems for the delivery and management of operational activities across clinical research and experimental medicine infrastructure.

The event; organised in collaboration by NIHR / Cancer Research UK Christie CRF NIHR / Wellcome Trust Manchester CRF and NIHR South Manchester Respiratory and Allergy CRF, took place at The Royal Northern College of Music on Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th July.

Manchester CRF Operational Director, Helen Pidd, is also the UKCRF Network's Director. She welcomed delegates to the event on Monday 11th July, giving an update on the Network as a whole over the past year, and a look at what's to come.

Professor Nick Webb, Clinical Director of the children's CRF, chaired a plenary session on bench to bedside precision medicine which included talks from Dr Simon Jones, Consultant in Paediatric Inherited Metabolic Disease at Saint Mary's Hospital.

Dr Jones spoke about the diagnosis and treatment of lysosomal diseases in Manchester, including research undertaken at the  children's CRF, which has seen patients with extremely rare metabolic diseases lived beyond six months old (read Ava's story).  He also gave a presentation on a  future clinical trial of stem cell gene therapy for Sanfilippo disease. This study is set to take place at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, supported by the children's CRF.


Delegates were able to choose from 30 parallel workshops that took place throughout the two-day event, to learn more about on-going work across the UK CRF Network.

Kirstine Bowden, Nurse Manager and Jessica Lacey, Senior Clinical Research Nurse, both from the CRF, helped to facilitate a workshop around supporting student placements in CRFs. Jessica was successful in applying for a full-time position at the CRF after undertaking two practice placements there during her time as a student.

Professor Webb co-hosted a meeting for paediatric CRF directors and managers, to discuss current and future pipeline work and opportunities for collaborations.

Members of the CRF and children's CRF teams also gave their time to volunteer at the two-day event, helping to welcome delegates, chaperone visitors to the right rooms and sessions, and provide support to the events team.

UKCRF Conf 1

Helen Pidd, CRF Operational Director and UKCRF Network Director, said: "I am delighted that this year's conference was such a huge success and I would like to thank everyone who was involved in making it one, including the events team, speakers, workshop facilitators, volunteers and of course everyone who attended.

"It is very rewarding to see everyone come together every year to catch up, meet new people, celebrate achievement and discuss best practice, in a bid to ensure that the UKCRF Network remains a strong support system for CRFs across the UK and Ireland."

CRF work to support research studies, including into ground-breaking treatments for children's rare diseases and partnership work with Manchester Vision Regeneration (MVR) Lab, is included in the brand new UK CRF Network brochure. Read it here.
Also, look out for videos about some of the UKCRF Network's tools, coming soon on Twitter (@NIHR_UKCRFN).