Major funding announced for hearing and digestive diseases research

Two University of Nottingham and NHS research partnerships in Nottingham have been awarded a combined 13.5 million in funding to help them to develop and translate new scientific discoveries into ground-breaking medicines, treatments and better care for all NHS patients.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) has secured two awards with the University of Nottingham, looking at gastrointestinal disease and hearing problems.

The Biomedical Research Units are supported by the National Institute for Health Research. Today’s announcement in Nottingham is part of 800 million awarded nationally.

An independent panel of leading international experts assessed the applications from across England. Awards were made to NHS Trusts, working in partnership with universities, with an outstanding track-record of research excellence, and were based on the scale and nature of the proposed research and its anticipated benefit for NHS patients.

Professor Ian Hall, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, said:

“We are delighted that the excellent research undertaken by the Biomedical Research Units in gastro-intestinal diseases and hearing has been recognized by the National Institute for Health Research. This funding will allow us to undertake further ground-breaking research in these two areas which should translate into improved healthcare for patients.”

The Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre Biomedical Research Unit is carrying out pioneering research into infections and post infectious consequences in the Gastro-Intestinal tract and in the liver. This research includes Clostridium difficile infection, Surgical and wound Infections, including MRSA, Hepatitis C virus infection and its complications including liver cirrhosis, Helicobacter pylori infection, peptic ulceration and gastric cancer, other GI infections including Campylobacter, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Diverticular Disease and Colonic inflammation and polyposis.

The Nottingham-based National Biomedical Research Unit in hearing was established in 2008 and is the only biomedical research unit in the UK funded to carry out translational research in deafness and hearing problems including tinnitus. This BRU works in partnership with the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research.

Peter Homa, Chief Executive of NUH, said: "We’re delighted to have been awarded this funding – it’s a significant endorsement of the strength of the research and the quality of expertise we share between Nottingham University Hospitals and the University of Nottingham.

“Bidding for the funding was a highly-competitive process, where we were up against the best Biomedical Research Units in the country. With this money we will continue to ensure the latest scientific advancements are translated into improved care for patients.”

Brian Thomson, Director of Research and Development at NUH, added: “The award of two new Biomedical Research Units in Gastrointestinal Diseases and Deafness and Hearing Problems will bring over 13m to support clinical research in Nottingham.

“The awards recognise and build on the outstanding success of our research in these two important areas and will support our pioneering work in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of these important diseases.

“The Biomedical Research Units underpin the strong research partnership between the University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals and will allow us to translate new medical discoveries into benefit for our patients. They are therefore an exciting opportunity to improve the quality and effectiveness of our clinical care and are excellent news for patients in Nottingham and elsewhere.”

The BRU in Gastrointestinal Diseases is based at the Queen’s Medical Centre. The BRU is Deafness and Hearing Problems is based at Ropewalk House in Nottingham City Centre.

Announcing the funding today, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “I am pleased to announce that in Nottingham two health research partnerships have been awarded over 13 million in funding. Their important work will help ensure NHS patients across the country receive word-class treatments and the very best health outcomes.

“This investment will see scientists in Nottingham contribute to the UK-wide development of exciting new science into tangible, effective treatments that can be used across the NHS. It means that patients will see real improvements in early diagnosis, survival rates and living a more independent and better quality of life.”

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