The UK’s first Minister for Life Sciences praised biomedical researchers working across Oxfordshire during a visit to NHS and university facilities.
George Freeman MP visited Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust’s John Radcliffe Hospital and University of Oxford facilities at the Churchill Hospital site on Friday, December 18 to learn how both are working together and with businesses to create new treatments and technologies.
At the John Radcliffe Mr Freeman met Oxford University’s Regius Professor of medicine Sir John Bell, Trust Chair Dame Fiona Caldicott (pictured with Mr Freeman) and Director of Clinical Services Paul Brennan.
He discussed economic growth plans for the region with Oxford City Council leader Cllr Bob Price and Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chief executive Nigel Tipple.
There were the presentations about research funded by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) including next generation ultrasound, genetic sequencing to diagnose tuberculosis, a project to replace bedside charts with tablet computers at Trust hospitals and the use of gene therapy and electronic implants to tackle vision loss.
The BRC is a £100m collaboration between the Trust and University to fund medical research that will benefit NHS care.
Representatives from the Oxford NHS Genomic Medicine Centre spoke about the Trust’s involvement in the national 100,000 Genomes Project to collect patient health data and blood and tissue samples for genetic sequencing to better understand some cancers and rare diseases.
At the University of Oxford’s Old Road Campus, Mr Freeman was briefed on the latest buildings being developed at the site, including the Big Data Institute, which will allow researchers to analyse millions of records to shed light on many health conditions, and the Bioescalator, which will support new and developing life science businesses.
He also learned more about research at the University, one of Europe’s largest centres for biomedical research at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics on the Old Road Campus at the Churchill site.
Mr Freeman said: “The Oxford Biomedical Campus is fast becoming a world class hub of the new technology and biomedical disciplines which are transforming twenty-first century medicine.
“Through government and local funding, the Oxford team are building a truly integrated campus with NHS, university and industry researchers pioneering the genomic, informatic and diagnostic breakthroughs which are making Precision Medicine a reality for NHS patients.
“With companies like Adaptimmune and Immunocore here in the cluster, I am very proud as the UK’s first minister for life sciences (and a Cambridge man) to note that Oxfordshire is doing something special.”