£1.5 million boost for Swansea biomedical research
Ground-breaking Swansea research into how blood clots is taking a huge step forward with the announcement of £1.5 million additional funding over the next three years.
The Clinical Haemostasis Unit, based at A&E in Morriston Hospital, Swansea, - and the first of its kind in the UK - is being backed by the National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR). NISCHR supports research activity within health and social care in Wales.
The £1.5 million will be used to fund additional staff and equipment for the Unit at the hospital, which represents a unique collaboration between a multidisciplinary team ABM University Health Board and the Colleges of Medicine and Engineering at Swansea University. The team discovered a significant new biomarker for blood-clotting abnormalities last year. The team’s discovery was published in a top international medical journal at the end of 2010, and now that work is moving on to find practical applications.
Professor Adrian Evans, Head of the Clinical Haemostasis Unit, and an Emergency Medicine Consultant at Morriston Hospital, said he was delighted with the award.
“I have been researching clot structure for over 20 years, working on the hypothesis that when blood clots, it forms an initial template that eventually determines the quality of the clot.
“This means that clots can be fingerprinted in order to differentiate between normal, healthy, clots that prevent excess bleeding, and abnormal clots that cause disease and harm in the body, like heart attack and stroke.
“We will be looking at ways to apply the research in clinical tests or medical devices. We will be finding practical ways to use it to help clinicians prescribe more accurate treatments and risk assess patients who may be at risk of developing abnormal clots.”
Professor Evans said the aim was to make it easier for patients at risk of stroke and heart disease to be identified earlier. They can then be offered lifestyle advice and/or treatment to reduce the risk of them developing these potentially life-threatening conditions. The research will also help doctors fine tune anti-coagulant treatments for conditions like deep vein thrombosis or heart disease.
The unit will be concentrating on the following conditions during the next three years:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory problems
- Patients on anti-coagulant therapy, and
Recruitment is currently underway for a clinical trials manager; two research nurses; two clinical research fellows; three post-doctoral research scientists and a biomedical scientist to help run the unit.
The research involves a wide range of clinical staff including surgeons; physicians; intensivists; stroke physicians; trauma surgical teams and haematologists. They are supported by statisticians and engineers.
Professor Evans is also continuing to work closely with Professor Rhodri Williams, of Swansea University’s College of Engineering.
Professor Williams said: “This award recognises the significance of the unique multidisciplinary research which we have established at Swansea. It builds on our EPSRC funded research in fluid flow measurements and is a vital step in the translation of that work into clinical use”.
(First) Pictured, left, Research Scientist Dr Matthew Lawrence, Professor Adrian Evans and Dr Karl Hawkins, who are members of the team.
(Second) Pictured: Professor Rhodri Williams (right) with Professor Adrian Evans.