NEW state-of-the-art research facilities in Oxford will enhance the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, strengthen the fight against bone cancer and improve arthritis care.
Research teams have now moved into the £6m “phase 2” of the Botnar Research Centre, based at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (NOC) site in Headington.
It makes the Oxford University research facility one of the largest musculoskeletal research centres in Europe, doubling its size to ensure it continues to compete with leading institutions on the world stage.
Professor Andy Carr, Divisional Director at the NOC and Director of the Botnar Research Centre said: “Since it opened in 2002, the Botnar Research Centre has established itself as a world leading centre for musculoskeletal research. This extension will strengthen our efforts and provide our researchers and medical staff with the best possible facilities. Ultimately, it will help us improve quality of life for those people who suffer from debilitating musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.”
The Botnar Research Centre now comprises 4,000sqm of custom built research facilities including state-of-the-art laboratories and flexible office accommodation.
It can house up to 250 scientists, clinicians and support staff carrying out pioneering research in to conditions such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and cancer. Research will include genetics and cell biology, orthopaedic engineering and surgery, clinical research and epidemiological studies.
It will also house research supported by the National Institute for Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Unit (Oxford BRU), a collaboration between Oxford University NHS Hospitals Trust and Oxford University to accelerate innovation in musculoskeletal research.
Professor Carr said: “The Oxford BRU embodies the great strength of this site, the collaboration between University researchers and world class NHS medical staff.
“One of the real advantages is that when we make a discovery, we can ask patients if they would be willing to participate in a clinical trial to discover whether there is clinical benefit. In addition, more than 90 per cent of people having an operation at the NOC help our research by donating tissue samples that are vital to so many projects.”
The completion of phase 2 of the Botnar Research Centre marks the start of an exciting year for musculoskeletal research and treatment in Oxford.
This autumn, The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology will open its new building at the University’s neighbouring Old Road campus. The institute, founded in 1965, transferred to Oxford University in 2011.
The Kennedy Institute, the Botnar Research Centre, and the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, will bring together world class basic research, translational research and NHS treatment at one location.
Professor Carr added: “The expansion of the Botnar Research Centre and the arrival of The Kennedy Institute mean we will continue to expand our capability and expertise into the future, and that will lead to even more patient benefit.
He said: “Given our ageing population, musculoskeletal research will continue to grow in importance. What we have created here in Oxford is a centre of expertise that will support basic discovery and then ensure that work is accelerated into patient benefit and embedded in NHS practice.”
Phase 2 is the culmination of a seven year fundraising campaign by the NOC Appeal, the same independent charity that previously raised more than £5m to build the original Botnar Research Centre.
NOC Appeal director Jeanette Franklin, who was made an MBE for her fundraising work, said: “This is a dream. It started back in the early 1990s when we set a target of raising £1m towards building the first phase of the Botnar. That became £5m and the centre opened its doors in 2002. Our vision always included a second phase and it is wonderful to see research teams moving in.”
Professor Carr added: “We would like to say thank you to all those who contributed to the magnificent fundraising campaign that has made this world-class facility a reality.
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