UK Invests £230 million into Revolutionising ResearchA new initiative being led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) has been announced today involving more than £230 million being invested in a range of “revolutionary technologies” to identify the causes of diseases, such as cancer and dementia.

The Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative was announced by Chancellor George Osborne who commented that the funding will go to “23 truly innovative projects from across the UK today that represent the best of British ingenuity and scientific exploration.”

The initiative will bring together funding from the UK Government, British Heart Foundation, Arthritis Research UK, Cancer Research UK, and the Wellcome Trust, and will help advance 23 key projects at centres across the country, including research teams at 15 universities.  Many of the projects will involve partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and with a focus on “dramatically speeding up diagnosis and treatment.”

George Osborne added that the government, which is funding £150 million of the investment, will be working with charities, universities and the industry “to advance our knowledge in combatting the biggest medical challenges of our time.”

State-of-the-art technologies will be used to find out how differences in the cellular and molecular make-up of individuals affect how they respond to diseases and to treatments.

Combining imaging technologies, such as 7Tesla ‘ultrahigh-field’ MRI, with other innovative research techniques will give scientists a more detailed view of what’s happening within the body.  There are currently around 40 machines globally, but only two of these are in the UK. The funding from the Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative will provide two new scanners and upgrade the machine in Nottingham.

This technology is particularly important in brain research because it can look at small changes in the structure, function and chemistry of the brain even before diseases such as dementia start.

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