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University of Birmingham Professor Grant Stewart receives funding for research to advance the treatment of skeletal disorders in children

University of Birmingham Professor Grant Stewart has received £246,993 from Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and children’s medical research charity Sparks to fund research into the advancement of treatment of skeletal disorders.  

The award is part of a £2.1 million investment by the two charities to fund child health research projects across the UK.

The injection of funds into paediatric research will provide a huge boost to an area of research that is severely underfunded. Currently paediatric research receives only five per cent of public and charitable research funding in the UK each year.

Professor Grant Stewart will study cells from children with skeletal disorders to understand how genetic differences between patients affect the symptoms and severity of their condition.

The research could help to uncover new ways of treating the conditions, as well as identifying children also at greater risk of developing cancer due to genetics.

Professor Stewart, of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, said: “I am absolutely delighted to have received funding from GOSH Charity and Sparks which will enable me to further my research into understanding how genetic defects in DNA repair genes cause disease in children.

“It is fantastic to know that the GOSH Charity and Sparks are making such a large amount of money available for child health researchers across the UK to bid for each year.”

The commitment to paediatric research funding reflects GOSH Charity and Sparks’ ambitions to help unlock breakthroughs in children’s medicines that will find treatments and cures for seriously ill children with rare and complex conditions.

This year, for the first time the national call also involves partnering with rare disease charities Krabbe UK and Dravet Syndrome UK, thereby increasing the funding available.

Dravet Syndrome UK has jointly funded a research project aiming to unlock the potential of gene therapy to treat Dravet Syndrome, while Krabbe UK has provided funding to a project to explore the potential of a new stem cell treatment for Krabbe disease. This demonstrates the commitment from GOSH Charity and Sparks to boost funding into research into the most complex of conditions and highlights the importance of collaboration to fund the highest quality research.  

Kiki Syrad, Director of Grants and Impact at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, says: “We were delighted to receive a large number of high-quality applications from the UK pediatric research community on a range of diseases.

"For many children, research is their only hope. We look forward to seeing how Professor Stewart’s project progresses, and the call re-opening later in 2019.” 

The projects supported also reflect the ambition of both GOSH Charity and Sparks to drive new tests and therapies from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside, speeding up the diagnosis and treatment of rare and complex conditions.

For further information, please contact Emma McKinney, Communications Manager (Health Sciences), University of Birmingham, tel: +44 (0) 121 414 6681, or contact the press office out of hours on +44 (0) 7789 921 165.

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals with the broadest range of dedicated, children’s healthcare specialists under one roof in the UK. The hospital’s pioneering research and treatment gives hope to children from across the UK with the rarest, most complex and often life-threatening conditions. Our patients and families are central to everything we do – from the moment they come through the door and for as long as they need us.
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity needs to raise money to support the hospital to give seriously ill children, the best chance for life. The charity funds research into pioneering new treatments for children, provides the most up to date medical equipment, funds support services for children and their families and supports the essential rebuilding and refurbishment of the hospital. You can help us to provide world class care for our patients and families. 
  • Sparks raises money to fund pioneering children’s medical research. Since 1991, it has funded more than 285 ground-breaking research.