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2020 NIHR ACF PES Manchester Therapeutics or Clinical Pharmacology



2020 NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship in Priority Research Themes

HEE Local Office: North West
Medical School: The University of Manchester
Research Theme: Therapeutics or Clinical Pharmacology
Specialty Options: Dermatology or Gastroenterology or Rheumatology

Plain English Summary

In the NIHR priority theme Therapeutics or Clinical Pharmacology our research programmes are focused on personalised medicine. The effectiveness of a therapy to treat a disease depends on the correct matching of the therapy to the disease type, subtype or stage but is also influenced by an individual’s unique response to that therapy. Therapeutics research aims to ensure that the right therapy is given to the right person so that treatment is the most effective and side-effects are minimised and so is a major priority for the NHS. For example, within Rheumatology, the Biologic drugs have transformed the treatment of inflammatory arthritis but they are expensive, costing the NHS £5-10K per patient per year; only ~40% patients respond well and our research includes finding out the reasons for this so that we can target treatments better. Similar problems impact on all areas of medicine including Dermatology and Respiratory Medicine. This research is complex as it involves the development and testing of medications to treat different disease types and sub-types and also identifying why different individuals have differing responses to the medication.

Manchester is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for research in Therapeutics and we have integrated research and clinical trial facilities (NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facilities). Our programme in this theme will offer ACFs opportunities to engage with existing large programmes of research in diverse areas of importance to patient care and the NHS. This research could involve analysis of data from large national databases of patients taking specific drugs as well as, laboratory studies to identify genetic, genomic or proteomic predictors of response to specific drugs or why some patients develop antibodies to the drugs. ACFs will also gain experience in conducting large, community based clinical trials as well as small, focused experimental studies on specific sub-groups of patients. The infrastructure to support academic training in this theme is very strong. All GMC specialties listed are themes within our NIHR BRC and all three specialties have strong research programmes aimed at better phenotyping of patients through identification of novel biomarkers of disease outcome and treatment response.

ACFs undertaking specialist training in Dermatology or Gastroenterology or Rheumatology and who have an interest and research plan to address important issues related to Therapeutics or Clinical Pharmacology, will be appointed to 3 year ACF posts for joint clinical and academic training. They will be well supported to balance clinical work and research and will benefit from supervision by leading clinical academics in this field. This will ensure that our ACFs will be nurtured and supported to efficiently undertake their clinical training while developing their academic interests and forming robust plans and applications for externally funded research fellowships. Particularly relevant to this research theme is the North West MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship Programme in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, which has already successfully supported 6 former ACFs to complete successful PhDs and continue into subsequent clinical academic posts.