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Newcastle University to establish Transplant Research Unit


Newcastle University has, in partnership with the University of Cambridge, been awarded £3.8 million from the National Institute for Health Research to establish a Blood and Transplant Research Unit which will open in October 2015.

The Unit will be a centre of excellence in human experimental medicine related to organ donation and transplantation and will have a strong focus on moving scientific advances into clinical practice. The unit will support NHS Blood and Transplant to deliver its objectives to increase the supply and quality of donor organs for transplantation while at the same time ensuring transplanted organs function well for as long as possible. The Unit will create an environment where world-class research, focused on the organisation’s needs, can thrive, and will provide high quality research evidence to inform decision making at NHS Blood and Transplant.

Speaking about the partnership funding awards, Dr Lorna Williamson, Medical and Research Director at NHS Blood and Transplant said: "I am delighted that the Department of Health, through the NIHR, continues to recognise the importance of blood and transplantation research. This funding supports ambitious experimental research projects that will inform future clinical practice for services that NHS Blood and Transplant provides to the NHS and beyond."

Professor Andrew Fisher, Academic Director of the Institute of Transplantation at Freeman Hospital will with Professor Andrew Bradley, Head of the Department of Surgery at the University of Cambridge establish the Organ Donation and Transplantation Unit. The Cambridge/Newcastle Unit will focus on understanding how to improve the quality of organs prior to donation and will develop and evaluate novel approaches and technologies that increase the availability of suitable donor organs for transplantation, while improving graft survival.

The Unit will be based jointly at the Freeman Hospital’s Institute of Transplantation part of the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, part of the Cambridge University Hospitals Partnership. Both Hospitals have a long track record of excellence in Organ Transplantation and have worked closely with their partnering Universities in this area for many years.

Andrew Fisher, Professor of Respiratory Transplant Medicine at Newcastle University said: “We are delighted to have secured this award to host an NIHR Blood and Transplant Research Unit in partnership with colleagues at the University of Cambridge, both our NHS partner Trusts and NHS Blood and Transplant. The work of this unit will have potential to impact on the thousands of patients waiting for donor organs on the transplant waiting list by bringing new technology and scientific knowledge rapidly into NHS Transplant services.”

Professor Dame Sally C Davies FRS FMedSci, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health, said: "The NHS and its patients rely on an efficient supply of blood and organ donations and, increasingly, stem cells and genomics. We want researchers to explore how to improve the quality and effectiveness of these donations, therapies and technologies. The NIHR Blood and Transplant Research Units will involve NHSBT in partnerships with leading university teams so that we can accelerate and translate advances in research into benefits for donors and patients."


published on: 17 November 2014