NIHR BioResource opens 6 new Centres across the UK

Thanks to increased funding from the NIHR, 6 new BioResource Centres have opened, bringing the new total to 18. More Centres means increased volunteer recruitment, accelerated research and improved patient outcomes across a wide range of health conditions.

Photo: Gene therapy procedure for AMD carried out at Oxford BRC, Photo Credit: NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre

Our Centres are based at NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (BRC), and play a vital role in developing local research interests in addition to contributing to the national effort. As a result of an £800 million investment by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) into 20 BRCs across the country, we have opened 6 new BioResource Centres and will continue operating 12 of the 13 in place prior to December 2022, taking the total to 18 Centres. Under this funding, £250 million has been invested outside of London, Oxford and Cambridge, with a significant boost going to the North and Midlands. Guy's & St Thomas' no longer has a BioResource Centre.

The importance of expanding our network of BioResource Centres

By having new Centres, the NIHR BioResource will be able to further increase its national coverage to recruit research participants. BioResource Centres may specialise in areas of local expertise, which will allow the BioResource to focus on a wider variety of research themes and disease areas. Similarly, by expanding our network of Centres, we can recruit participants from different parts of the country, thus increasing the diversity of our volunteer pool. All of these will directly improve the quality and quantity of research being carried out.

The new Centres will offer a broader coverage to recruit research participants nationally and are:

  • Nottingham
  • Sheffield
  • Oxford
  • Oxford Health
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH)
  • Imperial College London
NIHR BioResource new sites for 2023
Map of all NIHR BioResource centres 2023

Professors John A. Todd and John Geddes, from the Oxford Health BRC, speak on the opportunities to support research:

"It’s tremendously exciting and rewarding to see the NIHR BioResource continue to grow and flourish.

"The ability to recall volunteers by genotype and/or by phenotype is a key step in understanding human physiology on the pathway to develop new treatment and preventions for disease.

"The BioResource has come a long way from its origins in Cambridge in the early 2000’s and its first publication in Nature Genetics in 2009 (PMID: 19701192): “Cell-specific protein phenotypes for the autoimmune locus IL2RA using a genotype-selectable human bioresource.”"

How do BioResource Centres work?

Our Programmes are major initiatives between Centres and partners to tackle specific health conditions. At our BioResource Centres across England, we recruit new volunteers, provide local research interaction as well as support experimental research projects and early phase clinical trials. In addition to local research interests, local Centres will contribute to our national recruitment programmes, including in Rare Diseases, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Mental Health, Immune Mediated Inflammatory Diseases (IMID), Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), COVID-19 and DNA, Children + Young People's Health Resource (D-CYPHR). Local BioResource Centre representatives report to the BioResource Steering Committee, which directs the activity of the NIHR BioResource and provides strategic direction.

Ultimately, all local BioResource Centres will support research projects for academics, clinicians and industry partners. The USP of the BioResource is its ability and capability to recall research participants by specific genotype and/or phenotype, facilitating research into personalised medicine.

Dr. Nathalie Kingston, Director of the NIHR BioResource says:

"We are pleased and excited to be working with new BRCs to further develop the NIHR BioResource.

"By extending the number of local Centres, we will be able to welcome more members of the public, from all communities, to contribute to health research.

"By working together, we will discover new research findings and ultimately benefit patients' health for everyone."

You can learn more about our Centres and Programmes and find your nearest local centre. If you are a researcher interested in working with us, please email nbr@bioresource.nihr.ac.uk or learn more about using the BioResource to support your research.

You can also keep up to date with the BioResource latest news on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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