Joint Research Office


Grant success for two JRO projects to drive innovation in healthcare

1 March 2024

Two JRO initiatives have won funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to drive innovation in healthcare and help bring advances in healthcare to patients faster.

The JRO will receive £50,000 in UKRI funding to set up a regulatory science and innovation network to accelerate the development of medical technology.

The AMRI Network (Accelerating Medical Technology Regulatory Science Innovation) will:

  • identify where innovation is needed in healthcare
  • develop regulatory guidance, tools and standards
  • and help develop the underpinning regulatory workforce.

The idea for the national network was developed by JRO Clinical Trials Operations Manager Farhat Gilani.

The JRO will lead the network, in collaboration primarily with the UCL Translational Research Office. The network will bring together academia, industry, regulators, patients, and other stakeholders in healthcare.

In a separate award from UKRI, UCL aims to streamline the process of getting personalised cancer therapies to patients once they have been manufactured.

This project aims to reduce the waiting times for patients who often have aggressive cancers. It is a collaboration with Royal Free Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Personalised immune cell therapies for cancer – such as CAR T-cell therapy – are proving highly effective in treating cancers that are resistant to radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

After these therapies have been manufactured, they need to be thoroughly tested before being released for patients. For personalised therapies, testing can take time, as they cannot be treated like other therapies that are manufactured in bulk where a smaller proportion of product needs testing.

Through the development of new technologies and regulatory pathways, the team behind Speed-CELL, which includes JRO Regulatory Manager for Pharmaceuticals Yusuf Jaami, are aiming to make product release of personalised cell therapies cheaper and faster, bringing them to patients sooner.

Both projects, which reflect the JRO’s strength and expertise in regulation and innovation, will begin in March 2024.