Clinical research facility receives £9 million funding boost

Lynchpin in $220M fight against breathlessness

Our NIHR Wellcome Trust Southampton Clinical Research Facility has been awarded £9.2 million to continue leading groundbreaking clinical trials and studies.

This five-year funding was awarded by the Department of Health and National Institute for Health Research as part of a £112 million national investment, and will help support studies into a range of novel medical treatments.

In addition to covering the costs of specialist research nurses and technical staff at the facility, it will also be used to ensure access to the latest cutting-edge facilities and equipment.

It follows a separate announcement, made in September, of £15 million awarded to help tackle obesity, asthma, allergies and infections through the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre.

Enabling breakthroughs

Recent breakthroughs made at the facility include identifying an effective treatment for peanut allergies in children and developing the first new therapeutic asthma treatment for a decade.

In addition, researchers have developed a new two-part screening test for diabetes, led a UK-wide trial of a new chickenpox vaccine, discovered a lung cancer drug can slow the progression of incurable and fatal lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and secured more than £3 million to study new vaccines for whooping cough and meningitis.

"Our investment in this area so far has led to a variety of breakthroughs," said Nicola Blackwood, minister for public health and innovation, "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 groundbreaking 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 Southampton at the forefront of clinical research."

Investing in excellence

The funding boost comes after recently-released NIHR figures show UHS is among the top six trusts in the country for recruitment to clinical research trials, with 20,939 people participating in studies during 2015-16 – up 0.9% on the previous year. The number of studies available to patients also increased by 1.6% from 385 to 391.

“We are delighted to have secured this funding for the next five years, as it gives us a fantastic opportunity to continue to lead developments in many areas of medicine as well as collaborate with our colleagues on major international breakthroughs," said Professor Saul Faust, director of the NIHR Wellcome Trust Southampton Clinical Research Facility.

"We are extremely lucky in Southampton to have access to excellent research facilities through the hospital trust's partnership with the University of Southampton, which has enabled our researchers to participate in and oversee some very significant developments in recent years.”

Posted on Tuesday 22 November 2016