Manchester to host new £5m arthritis research unit

25 Aug 2011

Patients across the North West and beyond are set to benefit from a new national research unit based in Manchester which will investigate the treatment of arthritis and other diseases affecting the joints and muscles.

National centre will benefit patients with joint and muscle complaints
National centre will benefit patients with joint and muscle complaints

The Manchester NIHR Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) will be run in partnership by Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Manchester. The partners already have a highly regarded Musculoskeletal (MSK) Research Group, and have successfully applied to the National Institute for Health Research for almost £5 million to set up a nationally recognised BRU to extend the group's work.

Led by Professor Deborah Symmons, the team of researchers and clinicians will pioneer new methods of assessing early response to treatment in adults and children with MSK disease, new ways of preventing rheumatoid arthritis and its complications, new therapies for arthritis and new resources for patients to help them achieve the best response to treatment.

"This is a hugely exciting development for Manchester,” said Professor Symmons. “Our research theme is, ‘Treating arthritis: right first time’. By understanding why some patients respond to certain treatments and others do not, we will be able to ensure that patients get the right treatment for them from the earliest weeks of disease. Indeed, in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, we believe that we will be able to prevent the disease developing in people who are at high risk.

"The benefits for patients are significant: fewer cases of rheumatoid arthritis and its complications, and effective treatments given earlier in the course of disease with fewer side effects leading to better disease outcomes for the most common forms of arthritis."

Mike Deegan, Chief Executive of the Trust, said: "Congratulations to the successful BRU team on an excellent bid and a very welcome result. This further enhances Manchester's already strong reputation for musculoskeletal research, and will significantly boost the work of translating it into innovative treatment for patients."

Professor Ian Jacobs, Vice-President of The University of Manchester and Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, added: “This is important recognition of the quality of research in musculoskeletal research being conducted by Professor Symmons and the team. It is built upon outstanding collaborative interactions between the University and NHS Trust and most importantly will bring benefits for the quality of life of our patients.”


Notes for editors

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is a leading provider of specialist healthcare services in Manchester, treating more than a million patients every year. Its five specialist hospitals (Manchester Royal Infirmary, Saint Mary’s Hospital, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and the University Dental Hospital of Manchester) are home to hundreds of world class clinicians and academic staff committed to finding patients the best care and treatments.

The University of Manchester, a member of the Russell Group, has 22 academic schools and hundreds of specialist research groups undertaking pioneering multi-disciplinary teaching and research of worldwide significance. According to the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, The University of Manchester is now one of the country’s major research universities, rated third in the UK in terms of ‘research power’. The University had an annual income of £788 million in 2009/10.

For further information contact:

Aeron Haworth
Media Relations
Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 8383
Mob: 07717 881563