Clinical collaboration

Photo of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham

Translational research is facilitated by the co-localisation of a highly research active University with major strengths in biomedical research and one of the UK’s premier “super” hospitals, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB), with state-of-the-art patient-focused research facilities, as well as the new development of the first integrated, stand-alone dental hospital and dental school to be built in the UK for almost 40 years.

Together with other affiliated NHS Trusts, this provides access to one of the largest patient catchment areas in Europe (5.5 million), with 800,000 patients being seen per year at the QEH alone. We have formalised this alliance of shared research, training and patient care objectives with UHB and Birmingham Children’s Hospital through Birmingham Health Partners, but continue to work with other outstanding local NHS partners including Birmingham Women’s Hospital, Heart of England, the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital and Sandwell & West Birmingham. This is part of a broader network consolidated in the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network. Our success in effectively integrating our research with NHS-based research activities is also reflected by the fact that 16 of 21 NIHR Comprehensive Local Research Network (CLRN) leads for Birmingham & Black Country are University of Birmingham staff.

Our applied work is often user-initiated, with clinicians – including both public health and primary care clinicians, and external collaborators – identifying research issues that will provide greatest potential benefit to patients and other clients within the NHS.

MRC Translational Roadmap Peer Review "Birmingham is one of the very few centres internationally that can complete the full circle of Translational Medicine"

Institute of Translational Medicine

In 2012 Birmingham Health Partners leveraged matched funding of £12m from the government as part of the Birmingham City Deal, to establish an ‘Institute of Translational Medicine’ that will serve as the engine to translate laboratory discovery into improved patient care and commercial activity. It will incorporate clinics for a broad range of well-characterised patient cohorts including common and rare diseases, a portal for clinical trials and an early drug discovery unit, clinical bioinformatics and a floor of stratified medicine to include genomics and deep immunophenotyping.

Commercialisation will be maximised through one floor of industry incubator space and there will be an integrated training programme for clinicians, life scientists and allied health professionals to develop the translational researchers of the future. Analytical capacity will be used to deliver increased patient benefit from some of the world’s most complete healthcare data through UHB’s state of the art comprehensive Electronic Medical Records system, recording data from 800,000 adult patients each year.

This allows us to map demographic and complex clinical data from patient cohorts onto phenotyping and genomic information providing a unique opportunity to explore mechanisms of disease and develop personalised medicine through stratification.