Opinion Former Article

DHT: National research centre for bowel disease to be UK first

Dr Hadwen Trust funded research to form part of new centre

A NEW national research centre for bowel disease will fast-track operations and revolutionise the way surgical breakthroughs are rolled out to hospitals all over the UK.

Building of the £3 million National Centre for Bowel Research and Surgical Innovation (NCBRSI), supported by the charity Bowel & Cancer Research which raised £2.4 million to get it off the ground, has just begun at Queen Mary, University of London.

The NCBRSI, which will be up and running in early 2012, will bring together scientists, clinicians and clinical trial specialists under one roof to create a national resource.
Developing groundbreaking surgical ideas, carrying out clinical trials and disseminating knowledge and techniques to hospital operating theatres all over the UK, the centre will become a gold standard for research into bowel disorders including cancer, colitis, faecal incontinence and constipation which affect millions of people in the UK.

Professor Norman Williams, who became President of the Royal College of Surgeons in July 2011, is director of the new centre alongside co-directors Professor Charles Knowles and Professor Andy Silver.

Professor Knowles, who will now carry out his work at the new centre, said: “Bowel disease is a neglected area of medicine which doesn’t get the research funding it deserves considering its prevalence.”

His research in pre-clinical human studies of unexplained abdominal pain will replace animal experiments and is funded by the Dr Hadwen Trust.

NCBRSI Centre Director Professor Williams said: “There is no recognised mechanism for developing an idea about innovative treatments for bowel disease, taking it through to clinical trial, and into routine clinical practice.

“The centre of excellence will be able to pilot a new bowel surgery technique and then roll it out across the country. 

“We want to develop new techniques which improve quality of life, test them, and teach them to others in a measured way. We can make great strides if we can pool expertise from different sectors of the medical chain, but we need an organisation and a structure with which to do that.”

Kailah Eglington, Chief Executive of the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research, said: “The new centre will make a major difference to the lives of bowel and cancer sufferers across the UK. And we know from supporting Professor Knowles and his research into unexplained abdominal pain how vital that work is.”

Ends
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Notes to editor:
The Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research (DHT) is the UK’s leading medical research charity funding and promoting the development of techniques and procedures to replace the use of animals in biomedical research and testing. The DHT was established in 1970 and is supported by patrons such as Dame Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, Brian May and David Shepherd. Funded solely by charitable donations, the DHT has awarded grants to over 140 research projects for some of the most advanced and successful human-related techniques in diverse areas of medical research including cancer, Alzheimer’s, asthma, kidney, heart and liver disease and diabetes.

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