Government invests in Biomedical Research
Posted on 18/08/2011
The Department of Health announced today (18 August) that it will pledge over £112m of funding over the next five years to two National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs), and a new Biomedical Research Unit for Dementia at King’s College London.
Created in 2005, the BRCs aim to support researchers carrying out health and social care research, and provide patients with better access to ground breaking medicines and treatments. With a strong focus on translational research – taking advances in medical research out of the laboratory and into the clinic – the BRCs are external recognition of King’s unparalleled translational research portfolio.
The BRCs at King’s involve collaboration with all three partner NHS Trusts within King’s Health Partners: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
The BRC at King’s and Guy’s and St Thomas’
The BRC at King’s and Guy’s and St Thomas’ will receive £58.7m of funding over the next five years to carry out wide-ranging translational research.
Recent advances in research from the BRC include discovery of: a gene responsible for a condition which causes birth defects of the heart, limbs or blood vessels; a gene linked to possible causes of osteoporosis; and a new cell therapy to prevent organ rejection, which could remove the need for life-long medication and boost the longevity of a transplant for patients.
The Specialist BRC for Mental Health
The Specialist BRC for Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded more than £48m of funding. The Centre brings together scientists, clinicians, mental health professionals, service users and carers, to improve clinical care and services across 10 mental health research themes.
Recent successes from the Specialist BRC for Mental Health include: a brain scan which diagnoses adult autism; a novel blood test associated to early pathology in Alzheimer’s disease; and an advanced computer programme to detect the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease from a routine clinical brain scan.
New Biomedical Research Unit for Dementia
The NIHR has identified dementia as a high disease burden and priority clinical need that is currently underrepresented. Based on King’s translational research strength in dementia, King’s Institute of Psychiatry has also been awarded £4.5m over five years for a new Biomedical Research Unit focusing on dementia research, in partnership with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Announcing the award, Prime Minister, David Cameron said: ‘This unprecedented investment into the development of innovative medicines and treatments will have a huge impact on the care and services patients receive and help develop the modern, world-class health service patients deserve.
‘A strong competitive science and research base is a crucial part of securing sustainable economic growth and creating jobs of the future, and we have some of the best scientists and facilities in the world. This investment will help ensure we continue to be at the cutting edge.’
Principal of King’s College London, Professor Sir Rick Trainor, commented: ‘I am delighted that we will receive renewed funding for our Biomedical Research Centres, as well as investment in a new Biomedical Research Unit for Dementia.
‘Ground-breaking research at King’s College London is contributing significantly to cutting edge advances in medical science. King’s is committed to driving programmes of research forward to bring scientific discoveries out of the laboratory and into the clinic to benefit patients at the earliest opportunity.’
Professor Robert Lechler, Executive Director King’s Health Partners and Vice-Principal (Health), King’s College London said:
‘These awards are recognition of King’s Health Partners’ unparalleled translational research portfolio and reflect the research expertise and excellence fostered by the successful partnership between our NHS organisations and King’s College London.
‘The continued funding to King’s Health Partners’ Biomedical Research Centres will ensure that our scientists and clinicians can continue to develop new advances in healthcare and translate their research into clinical practice as fast as possible to benefit patients locally, nationally and internationally. In particular, the increased award to our BRC for Mental Health, together with the new award of a Biomedical Research Unit in Dementia, celebrates King’s Health Partners' progress in the integration of physical and mental health research and will help us achieve one of our main aims as a world-leading Academic Health Sciences Centre – to close the gap between physical and mental healthcare.’
Notes to editors:
Further information about the current BRCs at King’s
Read about the latest research news from the BRCs at King's:
Gene for common birth defects
Cell therapy to prevent organ rejection
Alzheimer’s blood test
Alzheimer’s brain scan
Further information about King’s can be found here.
About the NIHR
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world-class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading-edge research focused on the needs of patients. www.nihr.ac.uk