13 Oct 2009 11:42:00.000
The University of Nottingham has been selected as one of five pilot centres across the country to speed up the development of fundamental medical research and turn it into new and exciting treatments and diagnostics to help improve human health and well being.
The University is to target eight areas of research:
• The prevention and treatment of bone infection
• Developing a heart rate monitor for babies requiring resuscitation at birth
• Developing and understanding the delivery of treatment for secondary cancers in the brain and spinal cord
• Development of new wound care products
• Tests for monitoring the effects of drug therapy
• Improving outcomes for breast cancer patients
• Developing antibody-based vaccines for hepatitis C
• Screening of drugs for myotonic dystrophy which is currently untreatable
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In a completely new way of driving through goal-orientated translational research The University of Nottingham has received block funding of £2m from the Medical Research Council (MRC).
The MRC’s Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) will allow the five centres to manage their own devolved portfolios of translational research. The aim is to speed up the process of turning fundamental research discoveries into real improvements for patients.
Professor Bob Webb, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research said: “The University was delighted in its success in receiving the MRC DPFS funding. We very much recognise the importance of translating and applying ‘cutting edge’ medical research that will really benefit patients. The University put in place a stringent and in-depth review and selection process. The panel included personnel with medical, biological, pharmaceutical and engineering expertise in addition to external reviewers with industry experience. The applications were of a high standard and there was intense competition and therefore I am confident that this programme will result in a number of applications that will have direct medical benefit.”
Chris Watkins, the MRC’s Translation Theme Leader, said: “With this block funding the universities we have selected will be able to respond more quickly to the needs of their projects. We will monitor the pilot portfolios closely and those universities in the pilot will be accountable to the MRC for all the decisions they take. The money should allow universities to make their own translational funding decisions and develop project management arrangements most suitable for them.”
Brigitte Scammell, Clinical Associate Professor and Reader in Orthopaedic and Accident Surgery, has been awarded £150,000 to research new treatments and prevention techniques for bone infection using an antibiotic impregnated synthetic bone scaffold. This revolutionary new treatment was developed by the University spin-out company Regentec.
Funding of £258,048 has been awarded to Stan Heptinstall, Professor of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, in the School of Medical and Surgical Sciences. Professor Heptinstall will research the development of a test of blood platelet function that can be used easily and routinely to monitor the effects of drug therapy.
Breast cancer patients will benefit from research into a prognostic index. The £613,899 project - Nottingham Prognostic Index Plus – will be led by Ian Ellis, Professor of Cancer Pathology. This new index has the potential to predict both long term clinical outcome and relevant therapeutic options in breast cancer more accurately than existing methods. The index will help clinicians and patients in the increasingly complex process of customising treatments.
With £63,273 from the DPFS experts from the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre led by Professor David Walker will investigate new delivery systems for the treatment of leptomeningeal metastasis (LMM) – a secondary cancer that spreads to the tissue around the brain and spinal cord.
Professor Jonathan Ball, from the school of Molecular Medical Sciences, has been awarded £190,000 to develop antibody-based vaccines for the prevention and treatment of hepatitis C.
An award of over £400,000 has been made to Professor David Pritchard in the School of Pharmacy to develop novel wound care products based on the active ingredients secreted from the maggots of the greenbottle fly. Rather than use live maggots, which have already been used successfully in wound healing, the group aims to develop these natural products to a stage where they can be used in the clinic.
One hundred and sixty thousand pounds has been awarded to Professor David Brook in the School of Biology, to help find a treatment for myotonic dystrophy (DM). This is the most common muscular dystrophy in adults. There is currently no treatment for this condition.
Dr Barrie Hayes-Gill, in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering has been awarded £250,000 to develop a new heart rate monitor designed specifically for newborn babies requiring resuscitation at birth. Approximately 70,000 newborns (10 per cent of births) need some form of resuscitation at birth. Many of these babies are premature or sick.
The other universities selected by the MRC are King’s College, London, the University of Dundee, the University of Edinburgh, and a partnership between the Bristol and Cardiff universities.
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Notes to editors
: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University 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), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.
Medical Research Council: for almost 100 years the Medical Research Council has improved the health of people in the UK and around the world by supporting the highest quality science. The MRC has invested in world-class research leaders, producing 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustaining a flourishing environment for internationally recognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact and has provided the financial muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs including the first antibiotic penicillin, the structure of DNA and the lethal link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackle research into the major health challenges of the 21st century. www.mrc.ac.uk<http://www.mrc.ac.uk/