The University’s Institute of Translational Medicine has been awarded £2 million by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as part of their latest UK-wide call for funding into Global Health Research Units.
The funding has been awarded to establish a new research group that will build on the personalised health approach of the Institute. The group aims to improve the effectiveness in Sub-Saharan Africa of a specific drug (warfarin) used to prevent blood clots.
Warfarin is the main anticoagulant taken in many parts of the world. It is used to treat deep vein thrombosis, and prevent strokes in patients with irregular heart rates (atrial fibrillation). Doses have to be constantly monitored, however, since variations in genetic makeup, age and size can cause either too small an effect from the medicine or even too much – the latter can cause bleeding in patients.
Anticoagulation with warfarin is an important area of unmet medical need in African countries because of the lack of validated dosing algorithms and/or monitoring facilities. This group aims to improve anticoagulation by developing clinical dosing algorithms, and further improve anticoagulation quality by using novel technological advances.
Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Director of the Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine and MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science, said: “This is fantastic news for the University and highlights the value that the NIHR sees in our personalised health research.
“It is also very good news for the people who, for various reasons, have to take this drug. By using our research and knowledge to improve the effectiveness of drugs, such as warfarin, we can provide help to improve the health and lives of those in developing countries. Importantly this funding will also allow us to train a number of African scientists which will enhance capacity in anticoagulation research.”
Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy, said: “This funding allows our universities to strengthen their research and expertise as a leader in Global Health Research.
“The UK will continue to be at the forefront of health knowledge, and it is only right that we support developing nations as they improve care for patients and public.”
The purpose of the initiative from the NIHR is to support world-class global health research undertaken through these new units Research Units and Groups that will deliver measurable benefits to patients and the public in low and middle income-income countries.
Awards of up to £7 million were available for the formation of Units and £2 million for Groups. Projects were selected for their vision and strategy, strength of leadership and the track record of the research team.
For more information please visit www.nihr.ac.uk/globalhealth