• New award from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) follows a competitive bidding process and represents an uplift in funding of 10% compared with the previous award in 2011
  • Investment represents the third successive award for Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London to support a Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)
  • BRC will continue its mission to discover new disease biomarkers and develop novel treatments across a wide range of diseases.

14 September 2016 – London: The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has awarded Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London £64.4 million over five years so their Biomedical Research Centre can continue its groundbreaking research into innovative new treatments for patients.

Over the next five years the BRC will continue its mission to discover new disease biomarkers and develop novel advanced treatments across its nine research themes: cardiovascular medicine, cutaneous medicine, genomic medicine, infection and immunity, imaging science, transplantation, women’s & children’s health, oral health, and regenerative medicine & cellular therapy.


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Professor Graham Lord, Director of the BRC, said:

“We are extremely pleased with this award which recognises the achievements of our BRC over the last 10 years. The BRC at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London is well placed to lead the revolution in new advances to therapy, and to play an enhanced role in ensuring that the UK is recognised as the best place in the world to conduct experimental medicine for the benefit of patients.

“Our BRC acts as a catalyst at local, national and international level to deliver new medicine and diagnostics, to drive research and innovation in the NHS, and to provide national system leadership to ensure maximum impact for our patients. We are very well positioned to deliver a step-change in the health of our nation over the next five years.”

In recent years the work of the BRC has helped Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust build an international reputation for pioneering clinical research.

Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“I am delighted that the outstanding work of our BRC has been recognised by the NIHR. This further award supports our vision to embed research at the heart of the Trust so that it becomes ‘business as usual’ and helps us to improve care for patients now and in the future.

“The BRC and associated clinical research facilities have been key to helping the Trust become one of the largest recruiters to clinical trials in the UK. Over the next five years their work will ensure that we remain at the forefront of experimental medicine.”

The BRC at Guy’s and St Thomas’ is part of the King’s Health Partners (KHP) Academic Health Sciences Centre, along with the BRC at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust which has received an award of £65.9 million. The combined investment of more than £130 million will allow the Guy’s and St Thomas’ and South London and Maudsley BRCs to work together to gain new insights into common themes, especially the interface between mental and physical health, over the next five years.

Professor Sir Robert Lechler, Executive Director of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre and Vice-Principal (Health) at King’s College London, said:

“The Government’s renewed commitment to funding groundbreaking mental and physical health research is extremely welcome. Today, more than ever before, we have both the opportunity and the duty to use science to develop new cutting-edge treatments and therapies to improve health outcomes for people. The funding awarded to both of our BRCs means we are also in the unique position of being able to use our research to improve life for the significant numbers of people with both mental and physical health problems.”

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said:

“The UK has so often led the world in health research – from the invention of the smallpox vaccine to the discovery of penicillin and the development of DNA sequencing. Today, we are making sure the UK stays ahead of the game by laying the foundations for a new age of personalised medicine.

“We are supporting the great minds of the NHS to push the frontiers of medical science so that patients in this country continue to benefit from the very latest treatments and the highest standards of care.”

This is the third consecutive award that Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London have received from the NIHR to support a Biomedical Research Centre*.

                                                                           ENDS

For more information please contact:

Ben Sawtell, Communications Manager, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London

ben.sawtell@gstt.nhs.uk |T: 020 7188 7604 | M: 07717 817 714

Notes to editors 

* Guy’s and St Thomas’ and its university partner, King’s College London, established their Comprehensive BRC (one of the first five in country) with a £45 million award from the NIHR in 2007. In 2011 the Trust and the University successfully bid for NIHR funding of £58.7 million to create their second BRC (2012-2017) allowing them to further develop their innovative research in a number of disease areas.

Our BRC has been involved in a number of studies which have impacted on healthcare provision or which have the potential for significant potential to improve patient outcomes or experiences in the future. Here are just three examples of our work.

  1. Prevention of peanut allergy in children
    Peanut allergy affects up to 1 in 50 school age children in the UK and its occurrence has more than doubled in the last 10 years in the UK and North America. The Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study was a randomised open-label controlled trial, which enrolled 640 children aged 4-11 months from the Evelina London Children’s Hospital who were considered at high risk of developing peanut allergy due to pre-existing severe eczema and/or egg allergy.Results from the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February 2015, showed that a greater than 80% reduction in the prevalence of peanut allergy at aged 5 demonstrating that consumption is an effective strategy to prevent food allergy. This contradicts previous guidelines – deliberate avoidance of peanut in the first year of life is consequently brought into question as a strategy to prevent allergy. This is an important clinical development and suggests that new guidelines may be needed to reduce the rate of peanut allergy in children.
  2. EBSTEM
    The “EBSTEM” clinical trial on recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) has led to a change of clinical practice for children. Potential clinical benefits of intravenous bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) were identified as a disease modifying intervention for children with RDEB. Considering that there are currently no treatments available for RDEB, this trial identifies potential clinical benefits of intravenous MSCs as a disease modifying intervention for children, leading into change of NHS practice.The NHS is currently funding the intravenous BM-MSCs which constitute a novel therapy in NHS practice. The economic benefits of this novel therapy are in cost savings for dressings and carer time, which are expected to be cut by half.
  3. The Antibody Discovery Programme
    The Antibody Discovery Programme’s team led by Dr Sophia Karagiannis have a world leadership position in the development of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody therapeutics for cancer. The team has led the discovery of the concept of IgE antibody class for cancer therapy and are the first internationally to translate an IgE class mAb therapeutic to Phase I (first-in-class, first-in-man) clinical trial for patients with solid tumours.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London is one of the first five (of 11) biomedical research centres in England is funded by the National Institute of Health Research to help establish the UK’s translational biomedical research infrastructure.  With embedded world class core facilities, a range of hosted research organisations and partnerships with industry, this represents the foundation for London’s premier biomedical cluster. We are arranged around four research clusters. For more information visit http://www.guysandstthomasbrc.nihr.ac.uk/

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust provides more than 2.3 million patient contacts in acute and specialist hospital services and community services every year. As one of the biggest NHS trusts in the UK, with an annual turnover of more than £1.3 billion, we employ around 15,000 staff. Find out more: www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk

King’s College London – For further information about King’s, please visit the ‘King’s in Brief’ web pages.

King’s Health Partners – The BRC exists within the context of King’s Health Partners, an Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) which is a pioneering collaboration between King’s College London, Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts. For more information, visit http://www.kingshealthpartners.org or read the King’s Health Partners blog for personal views and updates from across the partnership.

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website (www.nihr.ac.uk).