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Funding Award for Vital Research

Research at Alder HeyGroundbreaking research at Alder Hey and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital will be enhanced following a £3.4m award from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

The award will provide five years of funding for both the Clinical Research Facility at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the Clinical Research Unit at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital.

Researchers from both trusts will work together to extend research in the city of Liverpool with the aim of improving the health and well-being of babies, children, young people and adults. The NIHR award will fund research in vital research areas including cancer, musculoskeletal disease, inflammation, infection and pancreatic/digestive disease. Both units also work in collaboration with academic groups at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University to translate discovery sciences into new treatments for patients including medicines, novel therapies and emerging medical technologies.

£2m will be used at Alder Hey to further pioneering research to benefit children and young people. £1.4m of the funding will help fund both NIHR early phase academic led and commercial studies of drugs that have never before been tested in humans at the Royal’s specially accredited Clinical Research Facility.

Professor Matthew Peak, Director of Research at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Alder Hey and Liverpool as a whole as the region’s entire population will have greater access to innovative clinical trials of new and emerging treatments. This builds on Alder Hey and the University of Liverpool’s impressive track record of discovering and evaluating new medicines, therapies and health technologies to improve the health and wellbeing of children and their families across a range of diseases.”

Dr Richard Fitzgerald, Director of the Clinical Research Unit at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital said: “This is a fantastic day for Liverpool, with both the Alder Hey CRF and Royal Liverpool CRF being awarded significant NIHR funding to help push through new treatments for a range of different diseases across both children and adults. Working with the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, we will be able to take innovative research right through from the laboratory bench and in to patients seamlessly. With our combined track records of success, this will be an exciting time for all of us here in Liverpool.”

Alder Hey is a leading centre for children’s research and recently opened a dedicated research, education and innovation facility next to its new hospital. The Clinical Research Facility (CRF) is located within the new hospital ‘Alder Hey in the Park’ and enables trials and studies to be carried out to the highest safety and quality standards. The CRF provides a bespoke location for research on a day to day basis and is used to care for research participants overnight who need regular intervention and tests. The facility also enables Alder Hey to safely undertake complex, early phase studies. In the past ten years, 30,000 children and young people have participated in clinical studies at Alder Hey.

The Royal is a leading centre for clinical research in the North West with around 170 researchers currently working on over 450 studies. In 2013 the Trust became the first NHS facility in England and Wales to be accredited by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency achieve (MHRA) to carry out trials on drugs that had never before been tested on humans. The Trust is the lead organisation for the North West Coast branch of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network and is responsible for distributing £17m of funding per year, to support clinical research across from Cumbria and Lancashire to Merseyside and Cheshire. The new Royal Liverpool University Hospital will have a larger clinical research unit and the site surrounding the hospital will provide 100,000 square metres of space devoted to life sciences. This will provide development space for companies involved in research, pharmaceutical and biomedical industries.

Jacqueline Pirmohamed Chief Operating Officer of the NIHR Clinical Research Network in the North West Coast said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for the children and adults of the Liverpool City region and wider geography. Such NIHR facilities provide a first class infrastructure to enable patients to have access to innovative research and novel treatments. This will undoubtedly improve our understanding and future treatment of diseases across the NHS.

“We have seen research excellence flourish at both facilities in recent years and these funding awards are well deserved. This new award has been made possible by the ongoing dedication and previous achievements of both organisations, to the delivery of research for our patient populations. Well done to everyone involved; the local clinical research network looks forward to continuing our partnership and ensuring our region continues to lead the UK in our areas of research expertise.”

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