Bristol NHS and University researchers win £11m in record funding

August 22, 2011 by
Filed under: News 

Two University and NHS research partnerships in Bristol have been awarded £11.5 million for research into cardiovascular disease, nutrition, diet and lifestyle. The funding forms part of a Government initiative to enable the country’s top scientists to develop new scientific discoveries into groundbreaking medicines, treatments and better care for NHS patients.  

“This investment will see scientists in Bristol contribute to the UK-wide development of exciting new science into tangible, effective treatments that can be used across the NHS,” said Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley. “It means that patients will see real improvements in early diagnosis, survival rates and living a more independent and better quality of life.”

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) award is part of an £800 million five-year investment to leading NHS and university partnerships, representing the UK’s largest ever Government funding in ‘early stage’ health research to develop advances in disease diagnosis, prevention and treatment.

The £11.5 million award will be used to fund medical research at two Biomedical Research Units (BRUs) at the University of Bristol and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust to benefit patients with diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

“This is a fantastic demonstration of the quality of the science undertaken at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol, it is a very welcome award that will directly benefit patients in the future,” said Professor Wynick, Director of Research for University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and North Bristol NHS Trust.

The Bristol Biomedical Research Unit at the University of Bristol Dental Hospital aims to optimise nutrition to improve the health of children with chronic disorders, develop nutritional and lifestyle interventions in men with prostate cancer, optimise the nutrition of people undergoing surgery or other major hospital treatment, develop interventions to reduce sedentary time in people with Type II diabetes and to identify further interventions for patients. The unit will also provide training in nutritional research methods for clinicians and non-clinical scientists to strengthen future clinical research in this area.

The Bristol Biomedical Research Unit at the Bristol Heart Institute will conduct research into cardiovascular disease.

Professor Gianni Angelini, Director of the Cardiac Unit at the Bristol Heart Institute, British Heart Foundation Chair of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Bristol and Co-Director of the Bristol Cardiovascular BRU, said: “The award of the NIHR BRU has created a state-of-the-art facility, inspiring collaboration between scientists and clinicians to translate new research insights into benefits for patients. We can now perform internationally competitive research and at the same time train the next generation of cardiovascular scientists and clinicians.”

The BRU into cardiovascular disease will enable some of the best health researchers and clinicians to  lead studies into a broad range of areas such as heart disease in children, research into stem cell and platelet function as well as imaging.

The partnerships announced today will collaborate with industry and charities, helping to develop the country’s science and research base and secure the UK as a world leader in health research.

“The NHS in England has become one of the best environments in the world for undertaking cutting edge translational research,” said Sir John Bell, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences. “This is creating real opportunities for improving the health of patients, as well as positioning the UK as a preferred site for clinical development by the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Much of this capability is the result of careful and strategic investment in research infrastructure by the NIHR. The Biomedical Research Centres and Units are an excellent example of this investment and have transformed the relationship between hospitals and the research community.”

The £800 million funding over five years through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is part of the Government’s £4 billion investment in Research and Development.

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