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pounds 468m for medical research welcomed.

Byline: By Audrey Forbes

Health campaigners last night welcomed extra funds for North-East experts to carry out medical research.

Newcastle's Biomedical Research Centre ( a collaboration between Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust and Newcastle University ( will share in a pounds 468m pot to help drive the development and testing of new and better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat ill health.

The cash is now being awarded to 11 centres across the UK to stretch over the next five years focusing on major killers such as cancer and heart disease as well as other areas such as asthma, HIV, mental illness and blindness. Five main centres were announced last December ( London, Oxford, Cambridge, Liverpool and Newcastle ( and six will be specialist centres, concentrating on one area of disease.

Newcastle will be concentrating on a range of illnesses as well as specialising in ageing and chronic disease.

Scientists and doctors will focus on "translational research" that will take advances in basic medical research out of the laboratory and into the hospital clinic.

This means that patients will benefit more quickly from scientific breakthroughs. The centres are set within England's leading NHS-University partnerships and are among the most outstanding centres of medical research in the world.

They are part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and will ensure that the UK retains its position at the top of the international league table for research for the benefit of patients.

Arthritis Research North-East spokeswoman Marion Hall welcomed the funding to enable Newcastle to specialise in study into ageing. She said: "Any research that is going to help the elderly has got to be good. We have an excellent reputation in Newcastle for research which continues to grow and grow.

"It has made huge improvements in people's lives for pain relief and having a good standard of living.

"We are being recognised more and more by the people who we want to take notice of this."

But she believes research into age related conditions is often overlooked when it comes to funding.

Ms Hall added: "The elderly is an area that gets neglected with regards to funding. Older people are forgotten.

"People are blinkered and think about immediate needs rather than life when they get old.

"I would like to see more money coming into the region especially for research into ageing and arthritis."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 7, 2007
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