The Trust made an award of £350,000 to support the upgrade of the MRI system at the Centre for the Developing Brain, which is a collaboration between the Evelina London Children’s Hospital and King’s Health Partners. The upgrade will support the creation of a new ‘Fetus to Five’ research centre, which aims to address critical questions about the development of the brain in early life. The enhanced scanning capability will increase the Centre’s ability to define brain abnormalities and map their wider effects on the organisation of the brain and allow for the design and testing of novel interventions to reduce the long-term effects of adverse perinatal events.
The Trust awarded £150,000 to the University of Dundee to support the creation of a new Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation. The funding will be used to purchase specialist laboratory equipment. The University is a world leader in the field of Targeted Protein Degradation and the new Centre aims to use this technique to develop novel treatments for major diseases such as cancer, inflammation, Parkinson’s and other conditions with unmet medical needs.
The Trust awarded £400,000 to The University of Cambridge to support the creation of the Cambridge Neurological Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre (CN/ATTC). The centre will be a collaboration between the university’s Department of Paediatrics and Clinical Neurosciences and Cambridge University Hospitals and will build upon the partners’ clinical capacity and work in the regenerative and stem cell research to address genetic and degenerative brain disease in children and the elderly.
The Trust has awarded The University of York £450,000 to expand the translational research capacity within its Biomedical Research Institute. The University plans to bring together existing expertise in discovery science and clinical epidemiology with access to primary blood and bone marrow samples through collaboration with NHS partners in the region which will enable the new Unit to drive new work to better understand and treat haematological malignancies and improve cell and gene therapy techniques.
The University has developed the world’s first human-scale Fast Field Cycling (FFC) MRI scanner, which will deliver a wealth of diagnostic data which is not visible using conventional MRIs. Because the FFC MRI uses a lower strength magnetic field, it can also be used for patients with implants such as stents and pacemakers who could not be imaged using conventional machines. Following initial trials of a prototype machine the University was awarded a grant of £210,000 to support the development and installation of a larger scanner within a clinical setting at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Locating the FFC MRI scanner within a clinical setting will provide access to a greater number of patients and lead to increased research and development as a result of the new images produced.
Opening in 2018 the Guy’s Cancer Centre is recognised as a Cancer Research UK centre, and by the European Cancer Institute as an Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and Comprehensive Cancer Care Centre. The Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity was awarded £123,000 to purchase a hyperthermia machine to enable the hospital to deliver more effective treatment to tackle difficult to treat cancers. It also has the potential to lessen the harsh side-effects of current aggressive therapies improving a patient’s quality of life, while also giving clinicians a wider range of options. The team at Guy’s will use the machine to conduct trials to test its effectiveness and to understand which tumours benefit most from its use and how it can be best combined with other treatments.
The University’s Biomedical Rehabilitation Engineering Research Group is a leader in its field. Stroke is the primary cause of disability globally, and the Trust’s award of £449,000 will support the Group to establish a named Centre to expand and accelerate its existing work in stroke rehabilitation technology. The Centre will enable the University to work with stroke survivors and clinicians to develop “advanced rehabilitation technologies to enable a model of rehabilitation at scale in which technology is used to enable people to drive and manage their own rehabilitation”.
Lung health is the single biggest predictor of early mortality for people in the UK and – prior to any impact from the Covid-19 pandemic – asthma deaths in the UK had increased by more than 20% in 5 years. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust was awarded a grant of £100,000 to support the establishment of a Children’s Lung Hub. This will enable the hospital to transform the assessment of lung disease and provide: a platform for rapid access to lung function testing directly from primary care, a screening programme, and, facilities for advanced testing which are not currently available in the region.
The NHS Trust is using the funding to purchase portable and laboratory-based equipment for lung function testing. This will both enhance services and provide the infrastructure for a series of research projects to identify the most effective methods of screening children, establish new pathways of care and test diagnostic tools. The projects have the potential to inform the development of future services offered by the hospital, but also more broadly.
The MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) is based at the John Radcliffe Hospital and undertakes research in molecular and cell biology. The University of Oxford was awarded a grant of £500,000 to support the establishment of a Therapy Acceleration Laboratory (TAL) at the Institute, which will support the translation of the most advanced biomedical technology and pioneering research in precision medicine into new and innovative treatments.
The TAL will bring together WIMM’s expertise in molecular and cell biology with data from the diagnosis and treatment of patients in the NHS to improve healthcare firstly for participants in UK clinical trials, and then for the general public as new treatments gain approval for clinical use.
10m people in the UK are living with neurological conditions, caused by injury or disease. Many can be helped by neural prostheses, which involve the use of electronic devices to replace or restore function lost by damage to the nervous system. Examples are cochlear and retinal implants, and brain and nerve stimulators, but their use is restricted by technological limitations arising from a poor interface between tissues and electronics.
The University of Cambridge was awarded a grant of £400,000 to help create a prototyping laboratory for soft neuroprosthetic devices. Its aim is to enable the translation of prostheses with dramatically improved performance and stability, and thus, to have a transformational impact on the lives of many people.
Within the first two years, the intention is to prototype two novel devices, one to help patients suffering from locked-in syndrome, and the other for controlling epileptic seizures in drug-resistant patients.