Professor Tim Aitman, University of Edinburgh
The main aim of this node will be to train a new generation of molecular pathologists, development of new tests and clinical applications and the creation of new algorithms and standard operating procedures. It will focus on areas of clinical need where genome-based assays will most rapidly enter the clinic, particularly the genetic diagnosis of acutely ill children and babies, genetic diagnosis in foetuses with congenital malformations, inherited subtypes of common diseases in adults, and the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with cancer through development of ‘liquid biopsies’ from cell-free DNA in circulating blood.
Professor Chris Brightling, University of Leicester
EMBER will develop novel breath analysis tests to help understand disease processes and clinical decision making. Exhaled breath contains substances known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are derived from the lung and also from more distant organs. The range of clinical conditions for which breath tests could be useful is very large. EMBER will initially focus upon respiratory infections, lung cancer, chronic respiratory disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disorders such as heart failure.
Professor Tony Freemont, University of Manchester
MMPathIC builds on specific strengths in translational research in inflammatory disease, notably lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, and the significant capital investment already made by the MRC to the Stoller Biomarker Discovery Centre Centre (which links innovative proteomic data to genomics and health records), and capability and breadth exists to work across clinical specialities and ‘omic technologies. The MRC/ EPSRC funding will establish an infrastructure of staff and expertise to build a pipeline which will facilitate the effective translation of markers from discovery research, through to implementation of novel pathology tests in the NHS to enable the expansion of stratified medicine in the clinic.
Professor Andy Hall, Newcastle University
Building on strengths in discovery science, this node will provide world-class training to a new generation of molecular pathologists, producing a step-change in the delivery of precision medicine. It will prioritise the development of in vitro diagnostics in chronic and rare diseases, ensuring pull-through to industry and clinical practice by using well established links. Initial projects undertaken will build on current expertise in the fields of liver, inflammatory bowel and mitochondrial disease and childhood cancer. In addition, the node will also promote research activity in the fields of biomedical engineering and computing science.
Professor Alan Knox, University of Nottingham
NMPN aims to create an infrastructure to drive molecular diagnostic biomarker research down the development pathway by utilising molecular pathology/biobanking expertise and integrating computational/bioinformatics expertise. NMPN will develop translational molecular diagnostic capabilities in gastrointestinal/liver and respiratory diseases. The work will lead to the development and clinical application of biomarker/molecular diagnostics and computer modelling algorithms applicable to these diseases and potentially those in other organ systems.