UCL: Major new investment in clinical research at UCL

UCL has a close strategic partnership with UCLH in research, with UCL sponsoring most of the clinical trials held at UCLH and our investigators leading trial evaluation.

The funding will be made available through grants and be used to support research, which will help improve patient outcomes, safety and wellbeing. This includes the development of new and innovative therapies for cancer and dementia, improving digital innovation and maximising use of large-scale health data.

Professor David Lomas, Vice-Provost Health at UCL, said: “This investment is testament to the importance of the partnership between UCLH and the world-leading clinical research carried out at UCL, which is helping transform patient lives.”

As part of UCLH’s same investment strategy, which totals £20m, the UCLH Charity will also be supported, to help make improvements to patient experience.

UCLH Chief Executive David Probert said: “I am delighted we can announce this investment today which will enable improvements in care that our patients will benefit from, and which will enable the development of staff.”

Professor Bryan Williams, Director of Research, UCLH, said: “Investment in research like this directly contributes to improvements in clinical care. This is through new and innovative treatments, and indeed, in some cases, the treatments that will be enabled by this investment will be treatments of last resort that have potential to be life-saving or life changing.”

The investment in research and patient care will strengthen UCLH’s position as a research hospital. It will be spent over the next five years to 2027, and major new infrastructure and projects are as follows.

Cancer Clinical Research Facility

Grant money will pay for a new Cancer Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at UCLH with dedicated research beds for inpatient stays co-located with existing inpatient beds and nursing support.

The Cancer CRF will increase capacity for cancer research at UCLH including ‘first in human’ trials, supported by UCL researchers.

Investment will also progress leading research at UCL and UCLH in the use of advanced imaging and blood biomarkers to develop and evaluate new tests to detect cancers or their recurrence much earlier, in order to dramatically improve chances of survival.

Advanced Therapy Centre

A new UCL-led Advanced Therapy Centre will aid the development of advanced cell and gene therapies for patients with neurological disorders and other conditions.

At the centre UCL and UCLH researchers will determine if potentially revolutionary new therapies being developed for motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis deliver better outcomes for patients with these conditions.

Data and digital

The pandemic illustrated how the safe use of routine patient data helped speed up insights into better understanding the disease, who was at risk, and aided the rapid development of new treatments.

This investment will enable UCL and UCLH to extend this work to many other disease areas, safely using data at scale. Grant money will be used to create a digital innovation hub within UCLH to show how data can be used to drive forward care.

Preventing ill health

The investment will enable UCL and UCLH to be at the forefront of using genomics to predict and prevent disease. Grant money will enable significant expansion of cutting-edge research at UCL and UCLH into links between genes, the environment, health and disease.

Investment in staff

Grant money will support NHS staff who lead or support research, and will pay for the training of around 100 healthcare assistants to registered nurse status.

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