The breadth and quality of the research environment and infrastructure at Birmingham provides outstanding opportunities to translate research.
We have access to a large and diverse population catchment area; clinical trials material; clinical trials support; national and international research consortia; outstanding patient databases; a well organised tissue biobank; clinical MRI research time and expertise in the development of diagnostic and point of care tests longitudinally across diseases. We work closely with senior academics and statisticians in Health and Population Sciences who are international experts in test evaluation (Jon Deeks). We also have access to GP networks. This allows us to explore new developments and point of care tests in both the hospital and the community environments. We are harnessing these opportunities to develop new treatments for patients, identify diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, undertake new clinical trials and develop new diagnostic tests. We are also developing experimental models of disease to test our findings from patients.
An objective of ours, and of our university based regional NHS CPA accredited Clinical Immunology Service (CIS) is to identify and stratify patients.
Our resources provide tools with which to study
- Stratification of treatment,
- Response to treatment,
- Relapse and
We are combining our understanding of the basic science of immunology, immune mediated diseases and infection with access to patients and patient material through our involvement local, national and international trials and in disease-focused research consortia, to develop ways
of stratifying patients in health and disease.
Secondary immunodeficiency is a major cause of global morbidity and mortality. Our expertise in this area is contributing to the development of more effective ways of managing patients at risk of infection particularly the elderly, patients with HIV or other infections and patients with chronic inflammatory disease.
Vaccines are generally less effective with increasing age and co-morbidity. For example, recent data from the Health Protection Agency have shown that liver disease confers a 40 times risk of pneumococcal infection. We are developing an understanding of the basic immunological processes and factors that may improve and enhance vaccination programmes in the elderly, during stress, as a result of diurnal rhythms and secondary immune deficiency. We have particular expertise in potential vaccination programmes for pneumonia, HCV and CMV.
Immunotherapy, both cellular and antibody mediated, is another emerging area of major interest. Our strengths lay in finding new targets, ways to assess them in preclinical and clinical settings and the refinement of immune effector cells, as well as the use of antibodies as diagnostics.