Updated: Friday, 19th October 2018 @ 1:57pm

Manchester leads way in battle against cancer and diabetes with £18million investment for e-health research centre

Manchester leads way in battle against cancer and diabetes with £18million investment for e-health research centre

By Kevin Benson

Manchester is to lead the way in the battle against cancer, heart disease and diabetes with an £18million investment for an electronic health research centre, it was revealed yesterday.

The Manchester Health eResearch Centre (HeRC) will receive a total investment of £18m, with the Medical Research Council and nine other government and charity funders investing £4.5m over the next five years.

The University of Manchester’s Jean McFarlane building on Oxford Road will become the new home to the Health eResearch Centre (HeRC).

John Leech, MP for Manchester Withington, said he was delighted that the government has recognized Manchester’s worldwide reputation for pioneering health research.

He said: “This funding will mean that Manchester is leading the way in helping fight heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

“This investment will also result in the creation of fifteen brand new jobs as well as underpinning the wider team of 50 who work within research.”

The HeRC, set to open towards the end of this year, will carry out cutting-edge research which links electronic health records with other forms of research and data.

Researchers aim to identify more effective treatments, improve drug safety, assess risks to public health and study the causes of diseases and disability.

Manchester is one of four cities nationally set for e-health research centres – the others are London, Dundee and Swansea.

Professor Sir John Savill, chief executive of the Medical Research Council, said: “This is a watershed moment for data research and for the Medical Research Council, which I believe will deliver the benefits of e-health research, improving patient care over the coming years.”

The North West is said to be leading the way in using electronic patient records to study disease and develop better treatments.

Earlier this year, Salford was chosen for a ‘world-first’ clinical trial in which asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) sufferers are being treated with a brand new respiratory medicine.

The trial, known as ‘the Salford Lung Study’, is a collaborative effort between The University of Manchester, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKlein and NHS services in the Salford area.

One of the key factors in choosing Salford was its unique e-health patient records system, which provides up-to-date, real time data which is crucial to monitoring the progress of the new drug on patients involved in the study.

President of GSK Pharmaceuticals Europe, Eddie Gray, said: “The Salford Lung Study reflects our commitment to developing innovative medicines of real value that will benefit patients and healthcare systems.”

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said the e-health centres have the potential to revolutionise health research.

“Thanks to the NHS and the UK’s world-leading research base, we are uniquely positioned to use patient data to study disease and develop better treatments.

“The will provide a vital insight into conditions affecting millions of people and ultimately bring benefits for patients,” he said.

The members of the E-Health Research Initiative who have jointly-funded the four Centres are: Arthritis Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Chief Scientist Office (Scottish Government Health Directorates), the Economic and Social Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, the National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (Welsh Government) and the Wellcome Trust.

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