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Accelerating personalised mental healthcare

30 June 2009

A powerful new research facility at the heart of King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centreis being launched today by Professor Dame Sally C Davies, Director General of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Health.  The Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Nucleus is funded by a £3M infrastructure grant from South London and Maudsley Charitable Funds (£1.8M) and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity (£1.2M) to create a unique centre housing key translational initiatives to support the development of novel therapies and treatments for mental health and related disorders.

Part of the National Institute for Health Research funded specialist BRC for Mental Health at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and King’s College London, the BRC Nucleus will bring together expertise in epidemiological, biological and bio-statistical research to power the collection, linkage, integration and analysis of complex data in a way not previously possible; to develop new biomarker-led approaches to treating mental health and improving service provision for patients in the local community.

The BRC Nucleus will house groundbreaking research initiatives designed to accelerate improvements in healthcare, such as:

The Case Register Interactive Search (CRIS) tool – a computer programme capable of anonymising data from SLaM clinical records offering researchers opportunities to ask questions which they haven’t been able to answer before.  For example:  Is there a test for those with Alzheimer’s disease that can show if drugs would be the best treatment? Do some drugs for schizophrenia affect physical health, e.g. diabetes?  Do people’s home living arrangements affect how long they spend as inpatients, receiving care in hospital wards?

OPCRIT+ - a unique software programme designed to standardise diagnosis of psychiatric illnesses and collect quality data to support research for patient benefit. Together CRIS and OPCRIT+ offer the potential to exploit the previously untapped resource of patient records for patient benefit.

The BRC Community Survey of households in South East London and the BRC Care Home Study which aim to improve understanding of the needs of the population served by SLaM and other health partners and allow SLaM to improve and tailor the quality of its service provision to meet local needs and support research.

Professor Matthew Hotopf, Director of the BRC Nucleus and Chair of the BRC Analytical Methods Theme said: 'The BRC Nucleus is unparalleled in the comprehensive data it will offer researchers.  We are delighted this exciting facility is now open for business and the BRC for Mental Health can accelerate translational medicine in pursuit of personalised mental health care.'

Professor Simon Lovestone, Director of the BRC for Mental Health adds:  'The BRC Nucleus has the potential to bring the power of modern, biomedical science to transform the diagnosis, assessment and ultimately treatment, of people with mental health problems.'

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