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OUH receives £3.4m for cutting-edge research equipment


Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) has received £3.4 million to fund state-of-the-art research equipment that will enable scientific discoveries and new technologies to improve the prevention, management and treatment of disease.

The funding was part of the £96 million awarded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to 93 NHS organisations across England.

The award received by OUH will support the ground-breaking research being carried out by University of Oxford academics and the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). It will be spent in two main areas: building Oxford's capacity to deliver novel therapeutics and diagnostics for clinical research; and specialist clinical investigational equipment.

In the first, it will support the Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility (CBF), on the Churchill Hospital site. This unique academic-led capability producing vaccines and other therapeutics for human use. The award will ensure compliance with the latest legislation and increase OUH's flexibility to produce novel therapeutics such as cell and gene therapy.

It will also support the production of clinical grade novel mRNA vaccines for testing in Oxford and across the country. This mRNA technology underpins some of the most successful COVID-19 vaccines, but also has potential in multiple other therapeutic areas.

In the second category, the new investment will allow the Trust to equip its specialist endoscopy suite at the NIHR Oxford Clinical Research Facility to support early-phase clinical studies of novel therapeutics across multiple disease states.

The funding will also support the Oxford Eye Hospital's ground-breaking retinal gene therapy. The new equipment will, for the first time, provide a dedicated pathway for research investigations, relieving the pressure on stretched NHS capacity and increasing research throughput.

The 93 organisations awarded funding are all part of the NIHR's wider infrastructure, which includes Biomedical Research Centres and Clinical Research Facilities, as well as NIHR's Clinical Research Network.

As well as supporting the NIHR's research, the funding will enhance the ability of the successful organisations to leverage additional funding from research funders, including commercial companies.

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR said: "The best health and care research requires a number of important elements to come together: world-class researchers, cutting-edge facilities and the generous participation of the public.

"As we celebrate 75 years of our amazing NHS, today's announcement reminds us that all three elements are firmly in place in this country, and that the UK as a whole remains one of the best places in the world to undertake clinical trials.

"We are so grateful for the continuing support of the many people who take part in research to help shape our future health and care. Thank you to everyone who has done so this year, and I hope even more people will be part of research in the future."