Strategies for translational research in the UK

A commentary published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine, examines the structures of translational research investment in the UK.

The commentary has been written by researchers from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London. The authors consider the results of substantial Government and charitable investment in translational research taking place within the NHS.

The commentary follows the progress of the research and development funding streams available through the NIHR. The NIHR was set up in 2006 to ensure that the highest quality research takes place within an NHS setting and that patients have the opportunity to take part.

The authors write that the NIHR Biomedical Research Centres and Biomedical Research Units, which bring together NHS hospitals and academic partners, “have created a tangible focus on translational research in the UK and an efficient interface” for scientists and clinicians to work together for the benefit of patients.

Professor Graham Lord, Deputy Director of the comprehensive BRC at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London, and the senior author of the paper, said: “The research centres provide a means of coordinating and producing a coherent research strategy that is focused on delivering more rapid benefits for patients.”

The strategy at this centre has involved a strong focus on translational research training and career development, interdisciplinary working between clinicians and scientists working in different disease areas and disciplines, public and patient engagement, investment in leading-edge facilities and technologies, and engagement with industry. The centre underpins the work of King’s Health Partners, one of only five Academic Health Sciences Centres.

The authors conclude that “in a relatively short time frame, much has been achieved in terms of establishing a cutting-edge UK translational research infrastructure” which has great potential for wealth generation. Furthermore, the UK has seen a substantial increase in the number of clinical studies taking place within the NHS over the last five years and the number of patients involved in the quest to find improved diagnostic tests and treatments for a wide range of medical conditions.

To find out more about the work of the NIHR comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London visit: www.biomedicalresearchcentre.org

Note to editors:

1. Contact: Andrea Ttofa, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust tel: 020 7188 5577 or email: [email protected]. Out of hours, please call our pager bureau on 0844 822 2888, ask for pager number 847704 and give the pager operator your message.

2. The comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, is one of five National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) comprehensive Biomedical Research Centres in the UK. With its strong focus on ‘translational research’ across seven research themes and a number of cross-cutting disciplines, it aims to take advances in basic medical research out of the laboratory and into the clinical setting to benefit patients at the earliest opportunity. Access to the uniquely diverse patient population of London and the south east enables it to drive forward research into a wide range of diseases and medical conditions. Website: www.biomedicalresearchcentre.org

3. Guy’s and St Thomas’ provides around 900,000 patient contacts in acute and specialist hospital services every year. As one of the biggest NHS Trusts in the UK, with an annual turnover of over £900 million, we employ almost 11,000 staff. The Trust works in partnership with the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Biomedical Sciences of King’s College London and other Higher Education Institutes to deliver high quality education and research. Website: www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk

4. King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (2010 QS international world rankings), The Sunday Times ‘University of the Year 2010/11’ and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King’s has nearly 23,000 students (of whom more than 8,600 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 5,500 employees. King’s is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.

5. Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London are part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC), a pioneering collaboration between King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts.

King’s Health Partners is one of only five AHSCs in the UK and brings together an unrivalled range and depth of clinical and research expertise, spanning both physical and mental health. Our combined strengths will drive improvements in care for patients, allowing them to benefit from breakthroughs in medical science and receive leading edge treatment at the earliest possible opportunity.

For more information, visit www.kingshealthpartners.org

5. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world-class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading-edge research focused on the needs of patients. www.nihr.ac.uk

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.