Trust receives £90 million award for biomedical research
In partnership with Imperial College, the Trust has received £90m for research to develop and improve treatments for patients.
The Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) award, from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), was announced today and will cover five years from April 2017. The NIHR is funded by the UK Department of Health.
The NIHR Imperial BRC was first established in 2007 and this new funding will allow the BRC to continue its world-class research into cancer, heart disease, brain sciences, immunology, infection, surgery and metabolic disorders.
It will also support cross-cutting research and technology development in areas such as genomics, imaging, molecular phenotyping and the use and storage of biomedical data and samples. In addition, for the first time, the NIHR award to the Imperial BRC will fund research into gut health, with a focus on innovative approaches to disease that consider the microbiome.
The work funded by the NIHR Imperial BRC is already having an impact on how patients are diagnosed and treated. For example, researchers have developed a promising potential treatment for the childhood degenerative disease Friedrich’s ataxia. They have also created a new test for a form of kidney disease, and generated new insights into cardiovascular disease using imaging technology and genomics. Furthermore, researchers have designed a prototype implantable chip that can help control appetite, and an intelligent surgical knife called the “iKnife”, which can tell a surgeon if the tissue that they are cutting into is cancerous.
Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London, said:
“We are proud to receive this BRC award as it shows how important our work is. We have talented people pursuing research at the forefront of medical science that makes a real difference to patients. We will invest these new resources into internationally excellent medical research in areas from infection to genomics, and from gut health to surgery. Imperial researchers are at the leading edge of discoveries in healthcare, and developing them into new treatments for patients across the world.”
The funded research will build on the close partnership between the College and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, to ensure new discoveries in biomedical science are pulled through as quickly as possible into clinical practice for the benefit of patients. Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust are founding members of the first Academic Science Health Centre (AHSC), which aims to improve the quality of life of patients by taking research discoveries and translating them into new therapies as quickly as possible.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust chief executive, Dr Tracey Batten said:
"This is fantastic news and is a reflection of the outstanding research work undertaken by our staff across a wide range of specialties including cancer, cardiovascular and brain science, to name a few.
“Working together the Trust and College have long been at the forefront of cutting edge research and finding innovative ways to translate scientific breakthroughs into better treatments and models of care for our patients so that they receive the best care possible. This funding will allow us to continue being a world leader in research and medical innovation.”
Professor Jonathan Weber, Director of the Imperial BRC and Vice Dean of Research in the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial said:
“As the Imperial BRC Director, I am delighted by the continuing and high level of support by NIHR for our translational research. This award particularly reflects the close and productive relationship between all of our College Faculties and the BRC in the pull-through of Imperial discovery science into the clinic. We will now use our new award to bring together our technological platforms for imaging, genomics, molecular phenotyping and informatics - and to enhance our capacity for the analysis of healthcare data, with the Imperial Data Science Institute.”
Professor the Lord Ara Darzi of Denham, Director of the Institute for Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London, theme lead for surgery and technology in the NIHR Imperial BRC, and Honorary Consultant Surgeon at Imperial College Hospital NHS Trust said:
“In my long career as a surgeon and a scientist, I have seen the difference new technologies and innovations make to patients’ lives. The BRC strengthens our ability to translate major scientific discovery and innovation into impactful improvements in patient care. With this new funding we can continue this valuable work.”