SWANSEA UNIVERSITY’S Medical School, through its partnership with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, is to be one of the centres to deliver advanced medical therapies to Wales, which is part of a major investment announced by Welsh Blood Services.
A recently formed health consortium, jointly led by the Welsh Blood Service (on behalf of NHS Wales) and the National Institute for Health Research Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre, has been awarded £7.3M of UK Government funding to ensure more patients benefit from a new generation of breakthrough therapies.
£1.5M will come directly to NHS Wales and £550K to Trakcel, a Welsh software company developing scheduling/tracking software for advanced therapies which is based upon technology developed at Swansea University.
The funding will support the Welsh Government’s commitment to developing an Advanced Therapies Strategy which will enable these therapies to be brought to Welsh patients and Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) companies to reach the clinical market, whilst building expertise, capability and capacity across NHS Wales to benefit patient outcomes.
Speaking of the award, Frank Atherton, Chief Medical Officer for Wales, said: “We welcome the announcement of the successful partnership between Birmingham, Nottingham and Wales NHS centres in bidding for Innovate UK monies. The project is aligned with our ambition to support the development, availability and adoption of new innovative therapies for patients in Wales. Cell- and gene-based advanced therapies offer exciting opportunities, not only for the way we treat people with previously incurable conditions, but also how we work together with industry and NHS Wales in bringing these treatments from bench to bedside.”
The NHS Wales role in the MW-ATTC consortium was led by the Welsh Blood Service, with support from Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Cardiff & Vale University Health Boards along with the Life Sciences Hub Wales Special Interest Group on Cell and Gene Therapy, which brings together expertise from the Welsh NHS, Universities and industry in the Life Science sector.
As part of the contract award, one of the first advanced therapy treatment sites in Wales will be established within Abertawe Bro Morgannwg at the Joint Clinical Research Facility (JCRF) at Swansea University’s Medical School. The focus of the centre will be to develop the infrastructure, processes and skilled workforce required to enable patients to be cared for, from diagnosis through to post-treatment follow up.
Cath O’Brien, Director of the Welsh Blood Service and MW-ATTC Co-Director, said: “A significant opportunity exists to position Wales as a leader in clinical trial and routine delivery of cell and gene therapies to maximise Welsh patient benefit and opportunities for the national economy. The Welsh Government is committed to exploring these revolutionary developments in healthcare and we are excited to have worked alongside our consortium partners to secure funding through what was a highly competitive tendering process.”
One of the first products that will pass through the Welsh centres is that being developed by one of the consortium partners, Rexgenero and is intended to prevent the need for diabetes-related lower limb amputations for some no option patients. The incidence of diabetes is continuing to increase in Wales and already accounts for ~10% of the NHS Wales budget (£500M) with 200, 000 sufferers today rising to an estimated 500,000 by 2025. Currently around 2000 patients in Wales have non-healing lower limb ulcers that result in approximately 330 amputations per year.
The Midlands & Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre (MW-ATTC) will identify barriers, challenges and solutions to facilitate future deployment and adoption of these transformative therapies within the UK healthcare system.
Advanced treatments, such as cell and gene therapies, show great promise for patients with chronic and terminal conditions that currently cannot be cured. Unlike conventional medicines, these new approaches often aim to selectively remove, repair, replace, regenerate and re-engineer a patient’s own genes, cells and tissues to restore normal function. The project will include potential treatments for arthritis, liver disease, several types of cancer, and diabetic ulcers.
Seven injured as bus hits bridge
A BUS heading to Swansea University has struck a bridge and, as a result, seven people are being treated for injuries one of which is in a serious condition.
Emergency Services arrived at the scene on Neath Road shortly after 9:40am this morning (December 12).
A 63 year old man has been arrested and a full investigation has been launched by the bus company First Cymru.
Four of the injured were taken to Swansea’s Morriston Hospital, two were taken to Neath Port Talbot minor injuries unit and another was taken to University Hospital of Wales in a serious condition.
The bus was travelling between Swansea’s Singleton campus and the Swansea Bay campus when, according to reports, a fallen tree caused the bus driver to seek an alternative route to its destination.
The road remains closed and railway lines to Swansea are also blocked while authorities attempt to assess the damage done to the bridge with members of the public being asked to avoid the area.
Birthday celebrates £172M invested in Neath Port Talbot and Swansea
THE NATIONAL Lottery celebrates its 25th Birthday today and charities and community groups throughout Neath Port Talbot and Swansea are marking the incredible impact of the £172 million awarded to more than 5,600 good causes in the area over the last quarter of a century.
The National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994 and the 25th Birthday is a moment to celebrate the extraordinary impact the National Lottery has had on good causes in Neath Port Talbot and Swansea – large and small – in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.
Whether it’s funding for large iconic projects and landmarks; small community projects which make a big difference; producing the most amazing films; or supporting grassroots sports clubs – it’s thanks to National Lottery players, who raise more than £6.4 million each month for good causes in Wales, that brilliant projects which support our communities and make a vital and sustained contribution to our national life are possible.
As part of the celebrations today, an unique map of Wales featuring 14 of the most iconic landmarks funded over the last 25 years will be unveiled. The map, created by Welsh Artist Hannah Davies, will be on display at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, which is one of the iconic locations featured, from November 19th – 25th. Also featured are the Wales National Pool in Swansea, which was awarded £8.5 million for its development and the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea which was built the support of £11 million in National Lottery funding.
A wide variety of other local projects in Neath Port Talbot and Swansea have received National Lottery funding over the last 25 years, including:
Renovating and returning Margam Park, Port Talbot’s number one tourist attraction, back to its former glory (£1.6 million).
Restoring Victoria Gardens, Neath’s Grade II registered park in the heart of the town centre (£1.4 million).
In the last 25 years, more than £166 million of National Lottery funding has been invested to 17,300 grassroots sports projects in Wales – creating opportunities for everyone to get fit and improve their lives through sport.
The National Lottery has also helped develop some of Wales’ most successful and recognisable Olympic and Paralympic athletes to thrive and achieve legendary status. Those who have reaped the rewards from the National Lottery funded World Class Programme from Wales over the years include the Swansea Harriers Marathon Runner, Dewi Griffiths. The World Class Programme affords athletes like Dewi coaching, training, and competition support, medical, technology and scientific services.
70% of all National Lottery grants however have been for small amounts worth up to £10,000, bringing benefits to communities far and wide. These include:
£4,983 for Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Lon Las in Swansea to start an IT community within the school;
£4,950 for Upper Killay Community Council in Swansea to provide the local community with life-saving equipment such as defibrillators in the case of a cardiac emergency; and
£4,733 for Melyn United Bowls Club in Neath to purchase equipment and ensure their range of teams can continue to make use of the facilities.
Highlighting the impact of the National Lottery in Wales over the last 25 years, Nick Capaldi, Chair of the Wales National Lottery Forum and the Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales, said: “For 25 years, The National Lottery has been creating possibilities and making us proud of our communities whilst protecting the things we’re most passionate about in Wales. Without the funding, many of our most loved and iconic landmarks wouldn’t exist and many charities wouldn’t be changing lives to the scale they are now. The 25th Birthday is a time to recognise and reflect on the momentous and positive impact the National Lottery has had on the lives of people in communities throughout Wales.”
Also released today – ‘What has the National Lottery Ever Done for Us?’ – is a comedy film created by BAFTA nominated writer and director David Schneider, parodying the much-loved ‘What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us?’ scene from Monty Python’s Life Of Brian. Click here to see the film.
The short film is fronted by comedian Jimmy Carr and features a series of hilarious and surprising cameos from a host of famous faces, including Sir Chris Hoy, Rio Ferdinand, and Jane Horricks each heckling Jimmy with their own facts about The National Lottery’s positive impact on good causes.
Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has had on your community over the past 25 years by visiting www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using hashtag: #NationalLottery25.
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