NIHR | Manchester Biomedical Research Centre

BRC wins bid to join NIHR BioResource network

The Manchester BRC and CRF have been chosen as one of 13 centres around England which will contribute to the new NIHR BioResource for Translational Research in Common and Rare Diseases.

This integrates existing NIHR resources into a single facility to recruit patients with both common and rare diseases, their relatives and healthy volunteers to take part in experimental medicine and clinical research studies.

Over 100,000 volunteers have already provided information related to their health and lifestyle and biological samples, including DNA, and consented to be recalled for biomedical research studies according to their genetic make-up (genotype) and/or physical characteristics (phenotype).  From 2018, up to 50,000 additional volunteers will be recruited each year across the network.

Through the BRC and CRF, North West (NW) patients currently involved in research studies into both common and rare diseases will be asked to give their consent for their health information and biological samples to be shared with the NIHR BioResource.  The Manchester team will also collect additional samples and information from healthy volunteers across the NW region.

Funding of £425,000 from January 2018 to March 2022 has been awarded to the NIHR BioResource Centre Manchester.  This funding will be used to support the informatics required to link clinical and research data working with the BRC informatics and data sciences theme, the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine (MCGM) team to manage the governance requirements plus research nurses and phlebotomists at MCGM and the NIHR Manchester CRF to support the collection of new or extra samples from patients and volunteers.

In the rare disease area, samples from NW patients with neurofibromatosis (NF1 and NF2) will be held in the NIHR BioResource, and additional patients with rare diseases will be recruited each year through the BRC and CRF, MCGM and European Reference Networks (ERN) for Rare Diseases.

The NIHR BioResource will be a tremendous asset for researchers and industry, offering access to a streamlined data and sample collection, processing, archiving and retrieval system,

said Professor Gareth Evans, who leads the NIHR BioResource Centre Manchester together with Professor Jacky Smith.

He added: “Over the next five years, it has the potential to further improve our understanding of disease mechanisms.  Economies of scale and access to larger study cohorts will also help to speed up the delivery of the next generation of diagnostics and drugs, as part of the wider personalised medicine agenda.”