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New centre will boost business and research into ageing


A brand new business, research and treatment centre has opened at Newcastle University's Campus for Ageing and Vitality, to allow the region to benefit from our ageing population.

The new complex, on the former Newcastle General Hospital site, links like-minded businesses together directly with patients to enable them to come up with creative solutions to the potential posed by our ageing population.

Many people assume that ageing will place a major burden on society, but in fact, an ageing population can offer business opportunities.

The North East will have older consumers; they will be living longer and healthier than ever before. Even today the over 50's in the UK own 80% of the wealth yet only receive 10% of marketing focus. There is massive potential waiting to be tapped, with jobs already created in the region and the possibility of many more.

Already five businesses have a presence in the new building, benefitting from support from Newcastle University and its experts in ageing.

ADL Smartcare, Grey Matters, Age Inclusive, Innovativeminds@work and Age UK Newcastle are all companies looking at issues around keeping older people in the workplace, overcoming barriers to do with ageing, or offering support to those suffering with age related diseases such as dementia or heart disease.

The proximity to patients, and volunteer groups such as Voice North means they can have regular meetings with older people and find out what their needs are.

As well as the businesses, the new complex houses the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has established the national Biomedical Research Centre on Ageing and Chronic Disease and the Biomedical Research Unit in Lewy Body Dementias at the site. Both are a partnership between the University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

One of the countries first NHS Cresta Clinics is also located in the building. The Clinics for Research and Service in Themed Assessment -CRESTAs- are a novel clinical concept aimed providing high quality service through a 'one-stop' approach to healing older patients with more than one condition. Instead of patients going to a series of different clinicians, the CRESTA model brings all the experts together in one place.

CRESTAS are also geared at recruitment of patients for participation in early phase trials. They will enable medics and researchers to work closely with patients, with the aim of developing new treatments for a range of age related disease and conditions.

Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) opened the new centre. He said: “This is a great initiative which will provide a real boost for both researchers and businesses and at the same time offer support and benefits to older people. The new hub will build on the University’s outstanding research record and is also a great example of how universities, businesses and the local community can work effectively together improving health and wellbeing. It is a great pleasure to be here today to open this new facility.”

Newcastle University's Professor Tom Kirkwood, Director of the Newcastle Initiative on Changing Age, said: “The continuing increase in life expectancy has taken the world by surprise. Enormous effort is needed to make the most of the opportunities that this provides. Newcastle University was among the first to recognise the importance of research in this area, and is now established as a global leader in this field.

“The Newcastle Initiative on Changing Age is linking together our research and treatment across the University and beyond.”

published on: 28 September 2012