Aims of cluster

The biomarkers, co-diagnostics, imaging and devices (BCID) cluster provides interdisciplinary skills in biomarker discovery, biobanking, co-diagnostics, imaging, devices and proof of principle for clinical trials.

The aim of the cluster is to discover and develop biomarkers and develop personalised medicines for patient benefit. The cluster takes advantage of interdisciplinary expertise in disease relevant pathways and biobanking to establish correlative biomarkers with clinical interventions.

High throughput molecular profiling will transform scientific discovery of novel clinically relevant biomarkers and co-diagnostics. As such the cluster currently supports research programmes across all of our eight research themes.

Key programmes

Our comprehensive portfolio of research programmes and their associated projects focus on biomarkers, co-diagnostics, imaging and devices and span across all eight research themes. The selection of projects listed below demonstrates the breadth of trials in which we are engaged.

Cutaneous Medicine: Psoriasis Biomarker
Identifying and validating novel biomarkers for inflammatory skin disease to stratify disease risk and therapeutic outcome. (Includes PSORT-D and CAPTURE projects);

Translational Genetics:
Complex Disease Collection and detailed clinical phenotyping of large cohorts from patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Crohn’s disease or acute myeloid leukaemic, to define the genetic basis of disease susceptibility, functional studies to relate genetics to pathogenesis, and trials of new therapeutic agents;

Imaging: Cancer
Translating new multimodality imaging methods into improved care for patients with colorectal or prostate cancer;

Twins BioResource
Supporting the TwinsUK Bioresource, the biggest UK adult twin registry, to facilitate studies of the genetic and environmental aetiology of age related complex traits and diseases;

Transplantation: Immune Monitoring
Establishing how knowledge of immune biomarkers and imaging analysis can benefit the selection of liver and kidney transplant patients for treatment intensification or reduction;

CV:Cardiovascular Biomarkers
Identifying and validating novel biomarkers of cardiovascular risk and disease;

ERH: Respiratory Morbidity and Immunomodulation
Assessing the prevalence and prevention of food allergies in children, and the relationship between food allergies, eczema, and asthma. (Includes the LEAP studies.);

I&I: Infectious Disease – HIV BioResource
Investigating the genetic, molecular and cellular basis for viral persistence in HIV; the consequences of Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment for the virus and for the immune system; and the potential of therapy intensification.

Celebrating success

To date we have initiated significant biomedical and translational research studies and initiatives focused on discovery of novel biomarkers, co-diagnostics, imaging and devices. We have also leveraged significant funding from the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation, amongst others, enabling us to fund early stage research projects with translational potential.

Our achievements include (but are not limited to) the establishment of interdisciplinary biomarker discovery groups, the translational bioinformatics core within the Cluster and the integration of the NIHR BioResource core at St Thomas’ hospital within the wider NIHR BioResource agenda.
Our TwinsUK resource, the biggest adult twin registry in the UK celebrated its 21st anniversary in 2015. Over 12,000 twins are involved which has helped us to study the genetic and environmental aetiology of complex traits and diseases.

Collaborations

The cluster utilises a number of the services provided by the population sciences cluster (cluster three) including biostatistical support for clinical trials, patient and public involvement support and database design and data management.

In collaboration with the school of translational and experimental medicine STEM cluster (Cluster Four), we seek to provide training and education to a varied audience, with a particular focus on the cluster’s expertise in biomarker discovery and validation.

The cluster utilises a number of the services on offer across KHP. These include regulatory advice and support from the KHP Clinical Trials Office (CTO) and partner R&D departments at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital. In addition, clinical trial statistics, databases and management from King’s Clinical Trials Unit (KCTU), IP and licensing support and commercialisation advice from the King’s Commercialisation Institute are all exploited as necessary.

All of the cluster’s research investigators collaborate with their peers from other academic institutions in the UK and abroad as well as with commercial and non-profit organisations such as charities.

Cluster board

The cluster board is led by Professor Frank Nestle and brings together senior research clinicians from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London. The board comprises expertise in translating research from the laboratory into clinical settings.

It has oversight of the Cluster’s research portfolio and acts as a forum to accurately and effectively support and monitor the research activities within the cluster.

Cluster contact

Cluster Manager: Dr Laura Turner

Laura.turner@gstt.nhs.uk