In a second boost for Manchester in as many months, a single city-wide bid has been awarded £12.5m by the Department of Health to fund the cutting-edge research space, highly trained staff and specialist equipment required to develop and deliver pioneering new treatments across three NHS sites in Greater Manchester.
This new award is a major achievement for Greater Manchester Devolution, demonstrating synergy that can only be achieved by bringing together clinical and research expertise from across health and academia to deliver patient-orientated commercial and academic clinical research studies.
It will enable expansion of existing clinical research capacity across Manchester and is hosted by Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) in partnership with The Christie NHS Foundation Trust (The Christie), University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM) and The University of Manchester.
Clinical Research Facilities (CRF) at CMFT, The Christie and UHSM, currently facilitate a total of 6500 visits per year from patients and healthy volunteers involved in research studies. They provide 24-hour, seven-day inpatient and outpatient research services, including those for children and infants, with over 50 research beds and 20 outpatient consultation rooms across Greater Manchester.
Manchester's unique proposal will make research more accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds across the city region, as well as expanding the volume and types of research undertaken.
In September, the Department of Health announced a £28.5m investment in Manchester under its Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) scheme, which recognises Manchester's international reputation and will drive forward research in the areas of musculoskeletal disease, hearing health, respiratory disease, dermatology and three cancer themes (prevention, radiotherapy and precision medicine).
This latest investment is provided under the NIHR Clinical Research Facility Scheme and will enable the Manchester CRFs to support researchers working in these areas and many others, representing major causes of premature death and disability for patients in Manchester and beyond. The Manchester CRFs are supported by the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC).
Lord Peter Smith, Chair of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership Board said: "This reinforces Manchester's strong credentials in experimental medicine. The CRFs will play a key role in working with patients, academic and commercial research partners to implement the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Devolution."
Professor Nick Webb, Director of the Manchester CRF explained: "Our new One Manchester approach consolidates assets across our CRFs and will explore novel ways to drive efficiencies and maximise the impact of our research across Greater Manchester.
"We know that disease burden remains disproportionately high in Manchester and especially in socially disadvantaged groups. Working with the BRC and NHS organisations across Manchester, our focus will be to increase accessibility of research for people of all ages and backgrounds right across the city region and beyond."
Sir Michael Deegan, Chief Executive at CMFT said: "Experimental medicine studies can be extremely complex and intensive, requiring specialist facilities. This investment will enable us to expand our world-leading research in this area and provide more patients in Manchester with the opportunity to trial new medicines."
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President & Vice-Chancellor at The University of Manchester, added: "We're delighted to receive this investment, which recognises the excellent research infrastructure we already have in Manchester and will help to further accelerate the translation of basic laboratory research through to treatments that benefit patients."
Minister for Public Health and Innovation Nicola Blackwood said: "Our investment in this area so far has led to a variety of breakthroughs, including the first new asthma treatment in a decade, and a promising treatment for peanut allergies in children, to name just two.
"We know that such ground breaking clinical research simply would not happen without the support of these Clinical Research Facilities.
"I'm delighted to announce this funding to support the skilled personnel and cutting-edge facilities we need to keep Manchester at the forefront of clinical research."