An important milestone for medical research in Liverpool has been reached after a partnership involving the University and two NHS Trusts, the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen and Alder Hey, was successful in securing £3.4m in funding for translational medicine research.
The funding, provided by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will support the infrastructure costs for early translational (experimental medicine) research to help speed up the translation of scientific advances for the benefit of patients.
Translational medicine is a rapidly growing discipline in biomedical research and aims to ‘speed up’ the discovery of new diagnostic tools and treatments. This is done by using a multi-disciplinary, highly collaborative, “bench-to-bedside and bedside-to-bench” approach, that sees research done in the laboratory directly used to develop new ways to treat patients.
Researchers work seamlessly across the three organisations to serve a patient population of two million characterised by high disease burden and significant health inequalities – Liverpool’s residents have the lowest life expectancy in England.
Liverpool’s translational research portfolio encompasses the whole lifespan, from childhood to the elderly and spans the full R&D spectrum.
Highlighting our strengths
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, who is Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research at the University of Liverpool, and Executive Director of Liverpool Health Partners, said: “Once again these successful funding applications highlight the strengths of clinical research and the NHS-University partnerships in Liverpool.
“Our translational research is underpinned by a critical mass of expertise and internationally-renowned externally-funded centres of excellence, and world-class research facilities that pull research in basic science through to clinical application.
“Today’s health research is tomorrow’s healthcare so I am delighted that this funding will enable us to further progress more research and development in this exciting field.”
Experimental medicine research
The applications for the funding were made by the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust (RLBUHT) (led by Dr Richard Fitzgerald) and Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (led by Professor Michael Beresford) in partnership with the University of Liverpool.
The Clinical Research Unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, which carries out 30 early phase research studies a year, received £1.4million enabling more early phase and experimental medicine research – bringing new therapies, devices and diagnostics to patients more quickly.
Aidan Kehoe, chief executive of RLBUHT, said: “We are proud to receive recognition from NIHR as it shows that our patients are attending a hospital that is at the forefront of clinical research.”
Rare childhood illnesses
Every year thousands of children at Alder Hey participate in clinical studies to help find new medicines and treatments for children from Liverpool and beyond with both common and rare childhood illnesses.
From the funding Alder Hey has received £2m to help two specific units supporting research within the brand new Alder Hey in the Park children’s healthcare campus, the Clinical Research Facility and the Institute in the Park.
Sir David Henshaw, Chair of Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have great ambitions to improve the health of children everywhere by creating a unique environment where ideas can flourish and be tried out in a real-world hospital environment. This recognition of our NIHR Alder Hey Clinical Research Facility is vital to this mission and we are delighted to have been selected.”
Richard Fitzgerald Consultant Clinical Pharmacologist at the Royal Liverpool Hospital talks about the successful NIHR bids and what it will mean for Liverpool Richard Fitzgerald Bid Success https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZX5dc3oXYVU