'World-class' research lab opens at Royal Preston

Marianne Hare and Deborah Lakeland extracting DNA
Marianne Hare and Deborah Lakeland extracting DNA
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A new state of the art lab is set to put Lancashire at the forefront of medical research.

A new state of the art lab is set to put Lancashire at the forefront of medical research.
Health bosses say the brand new Clinical Research Facility (CRF), which opened yesterday at Royal Preston Hospital, could become a “global player” in the fight against cancer.
The centre, at the hospital’s Avondale Unit, will also drive clinical research into treatments for dementia and conditions such as Parkinson’s.
“We are extremely proud to play such a big part in innovation and developing ground-breaking treatment for the future,” said Karen Partington, chief executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. “This is the only National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Facility in Lancashire so it means people across the county can be involved in revolutionary research studies which will help us develop new treatments for future generations.”
Chief officer at Rosemere Cancer Foundation Sue Thompson said the facility will be a “game changer” in health care for future generations of those living with cancer.
“It will enable a greater number of local cancer patients to have access to the very latest medicines and therapies that are being developed now as the treatments of tomorrow,” she said. “The research it will undertake will make the facility a global player in the fight against cancer.”
The clinical trials undertaken at the new centre mean cures and treatments for cancer patients, those with dementia and other degenerative disorders which affect the nervous system such as Parkinson’s could be explored, honed and maybe even discovered.
The new facility, five years in the making, brings five dedicated staff members. It also brings together experts and academics from the three partners which have made the initiative possible - the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and Lancaster University.
Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at Lancaster University’s Medical School, Prof Hedley Emsley, says with an ageing population, clinical research into dementia could not be more timely.
He said: “This is a major development in clinical research because it allows more people to participate in research studies.
“The ageing population will see an increase in dementia and neurodegenerative disorders over the next one to two decades, but effective treatments are largely lacking.
“Clinical research to develop treatments for these conditions has never been more important.”
The facility itself is funded via three different streams, from taking part in the studies driven by the National Institute of Health Research, through grants available to fund such units and through commercial studies, paid for by companies.
Medical director at Lancashire Care Max Marshall (opposite) said: “The NHS gets more back than we put into it. The units are self-funding, we get to try out new treatments and the people who participate in research actually do better.
“Also it attracts investment into Lancashire with people wanting to do research in the hospital - there are many spin off benefits.”
Speaking of what the clinical research facility could achieve Mark Pugh, medical director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS, said: “The more patients, the more funding.
“The more funding ,the more we can do.
“We are looking to open this out in so many ways. Patients who end up in the mental health department or the A&E could go on to take part in a clinical trial.
“We couldn’t do any of this without our patients.”