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New £2.9 million centre to explore molecular clues to serious illnesses

29 Jul 2017

Manchester Molecular Pathology Innovation Centre (MMPathIC), to be led by Professor Tony Freemont from MHS's Institute of Inflammation and Repair, will employ and train scientists in the use of emerging molecular pathology research techniques

Using expertise already in place within the Faculty and across the University and NHS partners, MMPathIC will focus initially on inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and psoriasis.

Professor Freemont said: “This is an area of pathology which is fast developing and offers significant benefits to both patients and clinicians.  In Manchester we’re well placed to take advantage of molecular pathology with the research expertise and the close support of NHS and industry partners, to turn the experimental work into practical solutions.”

The project aims to improve diagnosis and treatment of non-cancerous diseases within the NHS with approaches which examine molecules within organs, tissues or bodily fluids for markers that assist in diagnosis, predicting disease outcome, identifying potential treatments and assessing the earliest therapeutic responses of serious disease in individual patients.

Professor Ian Greer, MHS’ Vice-President and Dean, said “I am really delighted to see this prestigious award. It will enable Manchester to build on valuable expertise and existing multidisciplinary collaborations within MHS, across the University, and with our NHS and industry partners. Importantly it reflects Manchester’s key position in the precision medicine landscape in the UK. This is invaluable not only in terms of our research but also because it will be a major step forward in patient care, providing better treatment targeted to our patients’ needs,  and attract inward investment for innovation in health in Manchester.”

The bid from Manchester was coordinated by the Faculty Research Deanery, with Research Strategy Coordinator Katherine Boylan supporting and bringing together a wide range of activity from a variety of academics and partners.

The project will last for an initial four years, with £2.9 million funding coming from Medical Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and a further £1.9M committed by UoM, industry and NHS partners. By the end of the four year period, researchers will have tested six biomarkers for their potential to indicate disease and will be working to roll these out across the NHS. Scientists in MMPathIC will also work with Manchester colleagues in the Manchester Cancer Research Centre to share ongoing advances that will assist in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

MMPathIC will develop training programmes to ensure that there are trained professionals in the future who can continue to develop molecular pathology as a discipline.  These will range from CPD courses for those currently working in the NHS and industry, through postgraduate education, to placements for sixth form students.

Professor Freemont said: “This funding will allow us to develop our knowledge of these serious illnesses, train the next generation of specialists and we hope to improve the way in which millions of individuals are diagnosed and treated.”