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£7.5m to transform patient care

   
   
09 Apr 2008 13:55:00.000

PA76/08

Patients suffering from respiratory disease and hearing problems are to benefit from an injection of £7.5m to fund ground-breaking new treatments in Nottingham.

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Two new Biomedical Research Units (BRUs) will take pioneering medical research out of the laboratory and into the hospital clinic getting new treatments to patients more quickly.

Dr Peter Homa, Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust says: "This important achievement is excellent news for Nottingham, and means both the Trust and the University will be able to work in partnership to develop world-class research units for hearing services and respiratory disease that will benefit patients both near and far."

Terence Stephenson, Professor of Child Health and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences said: “The award of two biomedical research units, worth £7.5m, against national competition is a huge mark of success for Nottingham's medical school and hospitals.”

Funded by the Department of Health's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) the BRUs will focus on 'translational' research into respiratory disease and deafness and hearing problems. They will be run by a partnership led by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Nottingham and, for hearing, the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research (MRCIHR). They will be based on the QMC and Nottingham City Hospital campuses.

The BRUs will put Nottingham firmly on the map as one of the country's leading groups of hospital and university research centres. They will build on the city's reputation as one of the world-leaders in developing groundbreaking medicines, treatments and medical procedures — transforming the lives of millions of patients.

Respiratory research is already a major area of strength in Nottingham.  The new BRU will help integrate existing state-of-the-art research facilities at the Clinical Sciences Building on the City Hospital Campus with a new Clinical Respiratory Unit. This will build on research into lung diseases, cystic fibrosis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  These are all major areas of disease burden in the UK in terms of morbidity, health care costs and mortality which already have strong research publication and funding portfolios.  There is also a pressing clinical need for new approaches to therapy.

Professor Alan Knox, of the Division of Respiratory Medicine at the University said: “This is an exciting development which provides a platform for us to take promising therapies from our strong basic science and epidemiology programmes through to the point that they can provide benefit to patients with a range of common lung diseases.”

Hearing research in Nottingham already has an outstanding record. The MRCIHR has been established since 1977 and is world-leading in both basic and clinical aspects of hearing research.

Nottingham was the first dedicated paediatric cochlear implant programme in the UK and is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. The new research programme will build on existing strengths in applying learning to treat hearing problems in collaboration with the Learning Sciences Research Institute, at The University of Nottingham.

Dr Heather Fortnum, Associate Professor and Reader in Hearing Research in the School of Medical and Surgical Sciences said: ”This unique collaboration between the University, the Trust and the MRC will produce real benefits for the huge number of adults and children with hearing problems.”

Nottingham's BRUs are also being considered for capital awards from the Department of Health of £2m each.

Dawn Primarolo, Public Health Minister, said: “People who suffer from illnesses such as asthma and hearing problems will really benefit from these new NIHR Biomedical Research Units.  This will strengthen our drive to put the UK at the forefront of vital health research and contribute to the nation's international reputation as a centre of excellence.”

Professor Sally C Davies, Director General of Research and Development at the Department of Health, said: “Each new NIHR BRU is a partnership between an NHS Trust and a university, which will enable some of our best health researchers and clinicians to work together.  I believe this funding will really help to develop this country's capacity to carry out translational research in key areas of unmet health need.”

The two Nottingham BRUs are part of 12 new research centres across the country which will be at the forefront of a £45m drive to prevent, diagnose and treat a range of illnesses.


— Ends —

Notes to Editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.

It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.

Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy).

Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for three years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Brian Thomson on +44 (0)115 8231832, brian.thomson@nottingham.ac.uk 
Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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