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Clinical research boosted at UCL and UCLH

Publication date: Jul 5, 2006 1:49:27 PM

Clinical research in London has received a boost with the announcement of a major funding award for a joint initiative from University College London (UCL) and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH). The funding provided will enable accelerated research into cancer, heart disease and a range of neurological conditions including severe headaches, with the ultimate aim of improving health care for patients.

Funding for the UCL/UCLH plans comes as part of a nationwide programme of support for experimental medicine – investigation undertaken in human beings to test the validity and importance of new discoveries or treatments – announced today by a consortium of research funders led by the Wellcome Trust.

The clinical research facility (CRF) the funding will support will help bridge the gap between the successes of basic science and translating these into patient care, and train and educate staff in clinical research and experimental medicine.

Some of the major research programmes at UCL/UCLH that will benefit from the award include:

· Cancer research – the CRF will support the programme of trials coordinated at UCL, including the UK Collaborative Trial Ovarian Cancer Screening, one of the largest clinical trials ever performed, with over 200,000 women taking part;

· Cardiovascular research – UCL is a leader in this field, with 21 professors in cardiovascular science (9 funded by the British Heart Foundation). However, this research currently takes place across a number of sites, and the CRF will enable ongoing development of this priority area of research;

· Neuroscience research – Severe headaches are a common problem, and the funding will help provide the necessary research facilities to test a number of drugs that have been developed by teams at UCL.

Professor David Goldblatt, UCL Institute of Child Health, who led the UCL/UCLH application, said: “This grant will enable basic research in cancer, cardiovascular disease and neuroscience to be translated into clinical research and thus potentially benefit patients more rapidly than would have been possible in the past, when the lack of dedicated clinical research facilities has made patient research more difficult to undertake.

“Specifically, the proposal hopes to accelerate clinical research into new drugs for cancer that target DNA interactions, new drugs that interfere with cholesterol metabolism and thus may prevent heart disease, and the study of new methods to treat severe headaches and new approaches to protect and restore nerve function in multiple sclerosis.”

Notes for Editors

1. For further information on the UCL/UCLH programme, contact Dominique Fourniol in the UCL media relations office on 020 7679 9728.

2. For information on the national announcement, contact Mike Findlay in the media office at the Wellcome Trust on 020 7611 8612.