The new Liverpool Clinical Research Facility (CRF) unit has opened at the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital thanks to £5.3m ($6.4m) funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
The CRF will explore new treatments and vaccines for a range of diseases prevalent in Liverpool’s communities. This includes research into cancer and heart disease as well as neurology and neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.
Key benefits of the new site include increasing the number of beds from 12 to 26 and being one of only two NHS units in England that holds M accreditation, an industry standard benchmark for medical trials.
The unit is laid out in a bespoke manner to facilitate medical trials, such as having open bed bays and areas for volunteers to relax. This design means the unit can conduct Phase I human trials.
To speed up research, sample handling labs and specialist facilities for procedures including bronchoscopies have been created onsite. Operating in alignment with one of the region’s major NHS hospitals means that the CRF has easy access to relevant experts and medical support without adding to NHS workloads and waiting lists.
First Phase I trial
The first Phase I clinical trial is currently underway at the new facility in partnership with the Infection Innovation Consortium (iiCON) and Alderley Park-based Infex Therapeutics.
This trial will progress a novel therapeutic treatment to treat dangerous multi-drug resistant infections into clinical trials over the next 12 months as part of a programme supported by iiCON. The RESP-X programme targets serious recurrent respiratory infections in patients with damaged lung functions.
Janet Hemingway, iiCON Director, said: “The Liverpool CRF has been at the cutting edge of innovative drug discovery for some time and its site at the new Royal Liverpool Hospital will supercharge the capabilities of this exceptionally talented team.
“The work that’s underway on Infex’s RESP-X programme illustrates the fantastic collaborations our region is capable of. Bringing together advanced researchers with leading industry specialists and clinical experts is at the heart of iiCON’s mission, as it is vital to delivering the next generation of treatments for infectious diseases.”