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Trust researcher's major role in government drive to deliver lab bench to patient bedside treatments

A CMFT researcher is helping Manchester lead the way in a world-first initiative to boost the partnership between academics, medics and the pharmaceutical industry to deliver tomorrow’s treatments to today’s patients.  

Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) is one of a small group of centres of clinical research excellence chosen this week to deliver a new £10 million Government programme that will get medicines of the future faster to patients, and secure the UK’s position as the global partner of choice for research and development collaboration. 

Science Minister David Willetts and Health Minister Lord Howe have jointly launched The Therapeutic Capability Clusters programme which will involve the best researchers in the NHS and academia working with industry colleagues on promising new drugs and interventions. Together they will develop the best approaches to run experimental medicine studies and find novel ways to treating or diagnosing a whole range of inflammatory diseases.    

Two leading researchers from Manchester are named in the first phase of this unique programme to establish the first two clusters which will be the first in the world to be established around specific therapy areas. 

Professor Ian Bruce, Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Manchester and CMFT, will lead on joint and related inflammatory diseases (such as Arthritis), and Professor Ashley Woodcock, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at UHSM (University Hospital of South Manchester) and the University of Manchester will lead on the work around inflammatory respiratory disease – such as Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Professor Chris Griffiths, Director of MAHSC says he is delighted that the city and MAHSC have been recognised in this way. He explains: "The success of both of our applications in this national competition for Therapeutic Clusters provides further evidence of the importance of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre in coordinating and promoting the health and healthcare research strengths of Manchester's NHS Trusts and the University of Manchester." 

Professor Woodcock says its fitting that MAHSC should have been chosen to help deliver the first phase of what he believes will be a ground breaking programme. “Manchester already leads the UK in early phase clinical trials in respiratory disease. Our involvement in this initiative is critically important especially because we have very high numbers of patients who are chronically ill with respiratory diseases. This approach should help secure tomorrow’s treatments for today’s patients.” 

Professor Bruce says inclusion reflects the scientific and clinical expertise in arthritis research within Manchester. “Our local Cluster will give arthritis patients access to cutting edge new treatments which will ultimately help us treat these potentially disabling conditions more effectively.”