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Manchester on the map after Government windfall

Manchester is today celebrating success after securing £12.5million of Government funding for clinical research.

ScientistThe Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility and The Wellcome Trust Children's Clinical Research Facility (WTCRFs), at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and two leading hospital trusts, working closely with The University of Manchester, have been awarded the money to carry out research into many of the major diseases and illnesses that affect the population of Greater Manchester and the wider North West.

The three Clinical Research Facilities that will receive funding are:

  • Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who will use the £5.5 million funding to support studies for people with diseases such as arthritis, psoriasis, depression, addiction, and diabetes.
  • The Christie NHS Foundation Trust who will use the £4.5million funding to support early-stage trials of treatments for people with cancer.
  • University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust who will use the £2.5million funding to support early-stage trials of treatments for people with lung diseases such as asthma, fungal infection, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and also food allergies.

Running ExperimentThe WTCRFs at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will expand world class Experimental Medicine in areas of high priority and unmet need including arthritis, mental health, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dermatology, paediatrics and genetic medicine. The WTCRFs also support the brand new £6 million NIHR Manchester Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit and Translational Research Partnership in Joint and Related Inflammatory Disease in their goal of 'Treating Arthritis: Right First Time'.

Mike Deegan, Chief Executive of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust "Congratulations to the WTCRFs team on being awarded this funding to continue their excellent work in experimental medicine. This reinforces Manchester's strong credentials in experimental medicine and will play a key role in constant improvements to treatment for our patients."

Professor Ian Bruce, Medical Director of the WTCRFs said "This funding from NIHR confirms the quality of work already being done in Manchester and will help us develop our vision of supporting innovation in an environment where new discoveries can be translated into human diseases to improve the health and wealth of the nation".

Researchers believe the success of these bids reflects the scale of expertise in conducting clinical trials in NHS organisations in Manchester and the University of Manchester which collectively form MAHSC (Manchester Academic Health Science Centre).

Professor Ian Jacobs is Director of MAHSC and Vice President of the University of Manchester. He believes this is a Red Letter Day for Manchester and further enhances the reputation of the city as a leading international centre for healthcare and health science.

He explains: "An extraordinary level of collaborative joint working has been achieved which makes it possible to conduct trials of the highest quality, on a large scale in a broad range of health areas including cancer, respiratory, neurological, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and inflammatory disorders. This funding will lead to new healthcare innovations which will be rapidly applied for the benefit of our population through the MAHSC partnership."

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: "These important awards build on the great strengths across the University and its partner NHS Trusts and span our research from basic discovery through to patient benefit."

NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts with clinical research facilities submitted bids for the funding, which were judged by a panel of UK experts in both medical research and in running clinical research facilities. Winning bids were selected on the basis of the quality and volume of world-class medical research they support as well as other criteria including the strength of their partnerships with universities and industry

Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley says: "Both public and patients think it's important that the NHS should support research into new treatments, and we agree. That's why we're investing over £100m in research facilities, nurses and technicians to help make the NHS a world-class place to do research.

"These researchers will push forward the boundaries of what is possible. These are the people and the labs where the very best new treatments will be developed for a huge range of conditions - from cancer to diabetes and heart disease. NHS patients are the ones who will see the benefit of their work."

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Health says: "These are very exciting times for clinical research in the UK, and this funding is a reflection of the commitment we have to supporting world-class experimental medicine.

"The Clinical Research Facilities will play a key role in supporting advances in treatments for a wide variety of diseases and supporting collaboration with industry. Thousands of people will benefit right across the country." 

The two other bids explained

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust - The Christie has been awarded £4.5 million to support its Phase I/II Cancer Trials Unit in recognition of the outstanding early phase research work already carried out.

Andrew Wardley, director of the Phase I/II Cancer Trials Unit at The Christie, said: "This funding is vital for our research infrastructure over the next four years.  It's not only important for developing trials of new drugs in cancer, but will also help improve our ability to develop individualised treatment plans - which will in turn significantly help us make further advances in the treatment of cancer.   We're also delighted to see that other research facilities in Manchester have been awarded essential funding."  

The Christie Phase I/II Cancer Trials Unit opened in late 2010 conducts early phase research and is home to many firsts into human studies.  As well as these early phase trials, the unit conducts later phase research across a range of different cancers.

University Hospital South Manchester- The Respiratory and Allergy Clinical Research Facility at UHSM, based at Wythenshawe Hospital is ideally placed to deliver experimental medicine in important diseases of considerable unmet need including food allergy, chronic cough, fungal lung disease and COPD. Our existing CRF has built on substantial NIHR investment to develop innovative tools and techniques (e.g. food challenge materials, cough monitors) for objective measurement of outcomes. The close interaction with The University of Manchester basic laboratory science in a hospital setting has facilitated this capability, but also ensured that new ideas are `pulled' from patients to inform advances in basic science.

Professor Ashley Woodcock at UHSM explains: "Our track record in early phase respiratory trials has demonstrated that our science innovation is rapidly translated into patient benefit. We have a history of powerful, mutually beneficial collaborative working with industry and participate in the NIHR Translational Research Partnership in Inflammatory Respiratory Diseases.

"Our strategy is to capitalise upon our areas of expertise to further develop clinical innovations for patient benefit (preventative methods, diagnostics), and to optimise efficacy and minimise toxicity of current and new therapies."



MAHSC is a partnership between The University of Manchester, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, NHS Salford (Salford Primary Care Trust), Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.




For further information please contact:

Lucy Prosser
Web Communications Officer
NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre
0161 701 0260 / 0782 514 2219