Health minister pays tribute to our patients and staff 

25/07/2017 00:00 
Our “inspiring and courageous” patients and “amazing” staff have been praised by a government minister.

Lord O’Shaughnessy, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for health, met our chief executive Marcel Levi and saw first-hand the pioneering work our Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

The BRC is partnership between UCLH and UCL which turns cutting-edge medical science into life-saving treatments for patients.

The health minister then visited our Clinical Research Facility (CRF) where such treatments are taken out of the lab and given to people for the first time.

At the CRF, he toured labs and clinics and met staff and patients, including some who are among the first in the world to be given their particular treatments.

Jennifer Hobson, who is being given a treatment to tackle cancer of the womb, said: “It wasn’t a hard decision to take part in the trial. Even if this treatment doesn’t help me, it might help someone in the future.”

Lucy Nicholls, who is being treated for lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, described the facilities in the CRF, which include a nine-bay unit and dedicated nurses for patients taking part in trials, as “lovely” and “more personal”.

She added: “With the chemotherapy not working as well as it needed to, it seemed sensible to try a new and innovative treatment.”

Lord O’Shaughnessy said: “The patients I met at UCLH were inspiring. They put themselves forward for innovative treatments with courage and optimism. I hope I could be that brave.

“It was also inspiring and deeply moving to meet the amazing staff helping people to access experimental drugs that could save their lives.”

The number of patients receiving new treatments at the CRF has trebled in the past three years and it now has one of the most complex and advanced clinical trial portfolios in Europe.

The BRC and CRF will receive more than £110million from the National Institute for Health Research over the next five years.

Professor Bryan Williams, the BRC’s director, said: “It was really useful to meet the Minister and emphasise how important the NIHR funding for the BRC and CRF in helping ensuring leading hospitals, like UCLH, remain at the forefront globally in delivering the latest innovations to our patients.”

Dr Vincenzo Libri, the CRF’s director, said: “The CRF is committed to maintaining and expanding its role as a world-class, internationally-recognised centre of excellence in translational research and in the delivery of novel treatments for the most challenging diseases including cancer and dementia.

“We were delighted to host Lord O’Shaughnessy and offer him the opportunity to meet our admirable patients and gain first-hand insight into their conditions and hopes for a better future.”

A UCLH consultant has been awarded £6.8million to establish a global centre for research into a group of illnesses that claim the lives of millions of children every year.

Professor Robert Heyderman, an expert in infectious diseases at University College Hospital and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases will use the Global Health Research Unit on Mucosal Pathogens to study the development and prevention of pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis in young children.

These diseases led to more than two million deaths annually, mainly in lower and middle-income countries.

The initiative, which will be based at UCL, is one of 33 to win a share of £120million from the National Institute for Health Research.

Announcing the awards for global health research, health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy said the funding would keep the UK at the forefront of health knowledge while supporting developing nations in their drive to improve care.

Professor Heyderman said: “The award of a Global Health Research Unit will establish an internationally leading research partnership led by African and international Scientists, pursuing scientific excellence, training young scientists and improving the health of people in poorer countries through vaccination and other interventions.”

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