26 Jun 2008 13:20:00.000
Young children, older people and people who suffer from skin diseases are among those who will benefit from more than £11.5m in new funding for research in Nottingham. The news comes just two months after Nottingham clinicians and researchers received an additional £7.5m to fund ground-breaking new treatments in respiratory disease and hearing problems.
Nearly £6m will fund three five-year studies by some of the city's leading health care experts at The University of Nottingham, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Nottinghamshire County Teaching Primary Care Trust (PCT). Their research will focus on the prevention of accidental injuries in pre-school children; developing and evaluating services for frail older people; and the treatment of disfiguring and mutilating skin diseases.
The funding - which could transform the lives of millions of patients - has been awarded in three Programme Grants for Applied Research by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in recognition of Nottingham's strengths as a centre of excellence for applied and translational research. Overall, 25 awards were made nationally, with Nottingham winning more than any other centre.
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The grants aim to increase understanding of how to manage and treat diseases more effectively, develop new treatments and help prevent ill health developing in the first place. Particular emphasis has been placed on conditions that cause chronic distress to patients and enable NHS trusts to tackle areas of high priority for patients.
Terence Stephenson, Professor of Child Health and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences said: "The University of Nottingham is absolutely delighted that three of our leading researchers have been awarded these prestigious funding programmes. These will address the often neglected areas of keeping children safe at home, skin diseases and confusion in the elderly. We are very proud to receive three awards out of a total of 25 given nationally."
Dr Peter Homa, Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said: "This is a fantastic coup for Nottingham University Hospitals and The University of Nottingham which cements Nottingham's position on the research map. We have an excellent relationship with the University and this is a further opportunity to work together for the benefit of patients in the city and beyond."
Keeping children safe at home
Professor Denise Kendrick, an expert in child safety, has won £1,999,845 to fund a study into 'Keeping Children Safe at Home'.
Accidental injury is the leading cause of death in one to four year olds. Falls, poisonings and burns and scalds are the most common injuries. As part of the study researchers will be following injured children for up to one year after their accident to measure the consequences of their injuries and the cost to the NHS. The aim of the programme is to provide a better understanding of how to prevent accidental injuries in pre-school children and, working with Children's Centres, implement effective approaches for children and their families.
Professor Kendrick said: "Even though injuries are the leading cause of death in young children, there is limited evidence about what works to prevent them, especially those that occur at home. This award will allow us to investigate the effectiveness of common items of safety equipment and behaviour to reduce the risk of injury. I am excited about the opportunity to explore how we can get the findings of research into practice through Children's Centres, as even when evidence is available, often it is not implemented. This research will help us to understand the best ways of implementing accident prevention in the real world. The programme is a multicentre collaboration, also involving the Universities of Leicester, the West of England, East Anglia and Newcastle, the Child Accident Prevention Trust, the Norfolk Primary Care Trust, Children's Centres and members of the public."
Setting priorities and reducing uncertainties in the prevention and treatment of people with skin diseases
Professor Hywel Williams, Foundation Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology, and Director of the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology has won £1,930,186 in the only award of its kind for dermatology.
Professor Williams said: "Good quality research into skin disease treatments is limited, even though they affect 25% of the population, and are one of the commonest reasons why people go to their GP. This proposal comes from a team of health care workers, patients and researchers who already have a strong track record in giving the NHS high quality and unbiased information about treatments for skin diseases. We will focus on just four of the 1,000 skin diseases: childhood eczema - which now affects 20% of UK children; vitiligo - which causes disfiguring white patches; squamous cell skin cancer - a common skin cancer that is on the rise; and pyoderma gangrenosum - a painful and mutilating condition that we don't know how best to treat."
The team will systematically review the best evidence for prevention and treatment of eczema, and undertake essential work to inform a global study on disease prevention. Working with patient groups, they will also prioritise clinical trials that need to be done on vitiligo and squamous cell skin cancer, as well as delivering a national study on pyoderma gangrenosum - a rare but mutilating and painful skin condition. For each of the four skin diseases researchers will produce detailed web-based information resources for patients and decision aids to help doctors and patients make shared, informed choices about treatments. They will also set up talks with the pharmaceutical industry to find better ways to help them develop new treatments for skin diseases in the NHS.
Medical crises in older people
Another £2m will be invested in research to deliver specialist and coordinated multi-disciplinary care to frail older people.
Confusion, immobility, falls, incontinence, and chronic debilitating symptoms such as pain and breathlessness are some of the most challenging and distressing areas not just for patients but for their families and to the NHS. They are made more difficult because those who care for the patients are often themselves elderly and frail or disadvantaged.
John Gladman, Professor in Medicine for the Elderly said: "Confusional states are perhaps the most difficult, especially when there are behaviour problems. They are often frightening, ill-understood and unpredictable and there is a relative lack of skills to deal with these problems. The good news is that these issues can often be significantly improved with care and attention, and the nihilism and despair that often accompanies these problems is unnecessary, and it is the delivery of these skills that our programme is all about."
In April the NIHR announced two Biomedical Research Units (BRU's) to develop world-class research into hearing services in partnership with the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research and to build on research into lung disease, cystic fibrosis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. An extra £2m in Capital Awards has now been awarded for each of the BRU's. And another £1.6 million from the NIHR will help develop the work of the BRU's and promote Nottingham as a centre of research excellence.
These awards will harness the expertise and resources of one of the top Universities in the UK with one of the largest NHS Trusts.
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This news release presents independent research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.
Notes to Editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.
Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation - School of Pharmacy).
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.
About the NIHR
The National Institute for Health Research provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct firstclass research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality
patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world-class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading-edge research focused on the needs of patients. www.nihr.ac.uk
Details of all NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research awarded in March 2008 can be viewed at: