4th May 2012
Popular comedian John Bishop has opened a new, state of the art clinical research facility at Alder Hey.
The bespoke Clinical Research Facility (CRF) will provide a world-class environment for leading edge research, placing Alder Hey right at the forefront of improving the health and well-being of children and young people. It will enable Alder Hey to deliver safe, high intensity studies of complex new medications and interventions, including those requiring inpatient, overnight care.
John was helped at the opening by Ruby Willis, aged 10. As a member of the Young Person’s Advisory Group, Ruby has been involved in the initial design and planning of the CRF, along with the plans for its official opening. Members of the Young Person’s Advisory Group are now working with Alder Hey’s Arts for Health in creating visual art for different areas of the CRF. Their creations are set to be unveiled in the autumn.
Louise Shepherd, Chief Executive of Alder Hey said: “The new Clinical Research Facility is an important step in our aim to become a world leader in paediatric health research. Part of the vision for Alder Hey, as we move to becoming a premier world class health organisation internationally, is the development of our new hospital. As part of that development, we have included a clinical trials facility and also have ambitious plans to develop a new research and education centre.
“We’ve entered into a great partnership with University of Liverpool and as part of that partnership, we’re looking to expand our research efforts and build on some of the really exciting and world class research going on here at Alder Hey that supports children to get better more quickly.”
Recent requirements by the European Regulation on Better Medicines for Children have led to a dramatic increase in the number of studies conducted in the paediatric population. Back in 2009, Alder Hey and the University of Liverpool recognised that a facility solely focused on paediatric research was needed. A major capital investment by the hospital allowed the paediatric clinical research facility to be built and the following year, Alder Hey Imagine Appeal provided funding for its leading edge equipment. In March 2012, the NIHR awarded a £2million grant to cover running costs and fund staffing for the facility until 2017.
The CRF will support and enhance the delivery of the highest quality, efficient, patient focused research for children, young people and their families. Fully equipped and purposely-designed, it will significantly increase the capacity of Alder Hey to carry out essential paediatric research, including experimental medicine and early phase studies. The attractive, child friendly environment, of the facility will also enhance the experience of all those involved in research trials and help encourage greater participation. It is the first ever facility of its kind in Merseyside and Cheshire.
The layout and location of the CRF will also ensure that studies are conducted to strict Good Clinical Practice (GCP) standards. Sitting right in the heart of one of Europe’s biggest children’s hospitals, the facility is located close to critical care, medical inpatient facilities and clinical support services. This means Alder Hey is now providing the highest, possible quality environment for safety, clinical and research governance.
The environment and layout of the facility has been designed to suit the needs of children and young people. Along with a welcoming reception, play area, meeting rooms and office space, the CRF has two single-unit patient rooms, a counselling and consultation room, a monitoring and observation unit, two treatment rooms and has direct links to laboratory and pharmacy facilities.
Dr Matthew Peak, Director of Research at Alder Hey said: “This is great news for Alder Hey! We have recently published a ten year Alder Hey Integrated Research Strategy with our University Partners and the establishment of a bespoke, state-of-the-art, paediatric Clinical Research Facility is at the heart of our collaborative efforts. The Clinical Research Facility at Alder Hey underpins the very best basic biomedical research and drug development already taking place amongst our University, clinical academic and commercial partners nationally and internationally. It will further our expertise in paediatric drug development and help us go a very long way in ensuring we achieve our ambition to be one of the recognised world leaders in children’s research and health care.”
Research taking place within the CRF will focus on investigating diseases, and developing novel therapies, medicines and drugs. This will include experimental and early phase studies to establish the best route of medicine administration and correct dosages for children and young people. Early phase trials will take place in complex childhood conditions such as Hirschsprung’s disease, rheumatic disorders, cancers, diabetes, respiratory disorders and infectious diseases.
Professor Ros Smyth, Director of NIHR Medicines for Children Research Network at the University of Liverpool, said: "Children are participating in clinical studies which will answer important questions about drugs which are needed for their treatment. This new research facility will help lots more children in the North West to take part in these studies in an environment designed for their needs."
Dr Saul Faust, Paediatric representative of the UK CRF Network, said: "The opening of the Alder Hey Paediatric CRF is a fantastic addition to the UK paediatric research facilities network. Since 2001, NIHR and the Wellcome Trust have invested in similar facilities UK-wide to establish a world class, safe environment for children’s research of all kinds. The partnership between the NIHR Medicines for Children Research Network and Paediatric Research Facilities Network alongside established academic and clinical expertise gives the UK the most fantastic opportunity to work with the pharmaceutical industry to bring new medicines to children in the NHS.”
Alder Hey has a strong, active research portfolio and a vision of leading, pioneering translational research to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people locally, nationally and internationally. The Trust is already the hub for an extended research network across Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales and plays a leading role in the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN). The Medicines for Children Research Network Coordinating Centre (MCRNCC), which co-ordinates all paediatric clinical research in England, is also based at the Trust. Alongside its current strong clinical and research links, the new facility has the potential to establish Alder Hey as a world leader in children’s research.
Ian Lewis, Medical Director at Alder Hey said: “Alder Hey has a long and really impressive record in undertaking a wide variety of research in particular both commercial and non-commercial clinical trials in children and young people. The Clinical Research Facility is absolutely essential in the context of our long term strategy for research here at Alder Hey.”
Sir David Henshaw, Alder Hey Chair said: “On behalf of everyone at Alder Hey, I would like to thank John Bishop for taking the time to open our new Clinical Research Facility. These are exciting times for Alder Hey as we look forward to building our new hospital. The Clinical Research Facility is an essential part of this and has therefore been included within the designs for the new ‘Alder Hey in the Park’. Our new hospital, set to open in 2015, will be an international flagship for children’s research.”