MFT awarded £3 million to develop innovative technology solutions to improve health outcomes in Greater Manchester

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has awarded Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) £2,998,433 from 1 April 2024 to develop innovative technological solutions for better diagnosis, treatment and care of people across our region.

Part of a new government funding scheme of 42 million GBP, NIHR Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust HealthTech Research Center (MFT-HRC) is one of 14 HRCs across England which will transform acute and emergency care by developing and implementing new technologies for the detection, diagnosis and monitoring of disease and embedding these technologies to shape the future of health and care services for the benefit of our patients.

Steve Barclay, Earlier health and social affairs secretary, said: “These centers will help bring the latest advances in medical technology into patients’ lives faster and improve care, treatment and diagnosis, including for those with cancer, dementia and brain injuries.

“We are already seeing the benefits of previous investments in health technologies – such as using artificial intelligence to predict how different patients will respond to inflammatory bowel disease drugs, meaning the right treatment is given to patients more quickly.

“I look forward to seeing what our world-leading scientists, clinicians and inventors bring next.”

The MFT-HRC will bring together businesses, NHS clinicians, academics, the public and patients to test and commercialize new healthcare technologies aimed at improving emergency and acute care in the community and in hospital. These technologies will benefit patients and NHS organizations by ensuring that diseases are diagnosed earlier and appropriate treatments are delivered more quickly, so that patients receive optimal care through planned services.

Mark Cubbon, MFT Group CEOsaid: “Greater Manchester plays a key role as a regional center for clinical research and innovation (R&I). At MFT, we have supported the development and expansion of R&I so that our patients can benefit from innovative technologies and treatments that provide better results.

“We are incredibly proud to extend our partnerships with the NIHR to ensure advanced technologies help our clinicians diagnose diseases earlier and ensure appropriate treatments are delivered more quickly to our patients from Greater Manchester and beyond. The MFT-HRC will support our ability to scale up innovation across the North West and address some of the most pressing health challenges we face.”

To achieve its goals, the MFT-HRC will consist of four themes that will work seamlessly together:

  1. Community care, primary care and the interface between community and secondary care: Use of health technologies in the community so that patients do not need to go to the emergency department for diagnosis and treatment (receive patient-centered care in the right place).
  2. Secondary care: Allows faster and better diagnosis in the hospital environment, ensuring that patients receive the right treatment for patients at the right time.
  3. Understand the problem: How many people are affected, what is the cost to the NHS/economy, what will be the benefit to patients (especially groups who may be more prone to certain conditions) and the NHS.
  4. Evaluation of the solution: Clinical studies to ensure the technology is safe and effective and statistical/economic analysis to ensure it can be used in the NHS.
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MFT-HRC is committed to ensuring that equality, diversity and inclusiveness are championed in all its programs and activities. Patients and the public will be involved throughout project development to ensure that health technologies are fit for purpose and accessible to all. Through existing and new networks, the MFT-HRC will actively engage with underserved populations to ensure real representation in research, ensuring that health technologies benefit the diverse populations of Greater Manchester and the wider UK and are effective regardless of an individual’s ethnic group, gender, background or any other characteristic.

Dr. Tim Felton, Director of the NIHR MFT-HRC and Consultant in Intensive Care and Respiratory Medicine at the MFTsaid: “We are thrilled to be awarded this funding from the NIHR to transform emergency and acute care by developing and deploying new technologies to detect, diagnose and monitor disease at pace and scale across the health and care sector.

“While this is the culmination of seven years of work to reach this stage, it is only the beginning for MFT and the Greater Manchester R&I ecosystem as we bring together clinicians, researchers, industry and patients and the public to support the adoption and implementation to meet the unmet and underserved needs across our city region and to address health disparities for the diverse communities we serve.”

The MFT-HRC will work with regulatory experts and organizations to ensure their work maximizes the chance of adoption and benefits patients, and will help companies bring their technologies to market, bringing investment into the Greater Manchester region and the UK.

Professor Rick Body, Group Director of Research and Innovation at MFTsaid: “In 2018, the MFT recognized the importance of collaborative research in health technology and invested in setting up its Diagnostics and Technology Accelerator (DiTA). I ​​am now particularly pleased that the MFT will be joining the NIHR HRC community. It is a testament to the hard work of so many people that made DiTA successful.A particular highlight for me was the COVID-19 National Diagnostic Research and Evaluation platform (CONDOR) which showcased MFT’s strength and talent in health technology and diagnostic research of high quality.

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“Through our commitment to collaboration and strategic partnerships with industry, we have demonstrated a clear path of innovation that benefits our patients, clinical colleagues and the wider health and care system for wider financial gain. MFT-HRC will allow us to capitalize and expand to provide even greater benefits across all these areas.”

The new HRC scheme will support innovative projects while building capacity and expertise to support the development of health and care technologies to meet the growing demands of our population. The HRCs will develop technology for hospitals and general practice as well as for use in community and social care settings, enabling patients to benefit from these innovations wherever they come into contact with the health and care system.

Professor Graham Lord, Vice-President and Dean of the University of Manchester’s Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Healthsaid: “We are delighted to be working with MFT on what is another exciting development for our R&I ecosystem in Greater Manchester.

“Through our outstanding clinical academic research at the University of Manchester, we will support the MFT-HRC to build on and improve its expertise and increase specialist skills and capabilities to maximize its potential to make a real step change across the city region”.

The HRCs will drive innovation and efficiency, bring new technologies to those who need them most, support health and care staff to reduce workload and help ease the pressure on the health and care system.

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of the NIHRsaid: “Research in health technology is recognized as being of vital importance to patients, carers and users, our workforce and the wider health and care system.

“The establishment of the NIHR Healthtech Research Centers demonstrates our firm commitment to driving innovation in health technology research from conception to adoption.

“Our existing MedTech research centers have delivered new technologies that have helped prevent, diagnose and treat ill health for many individuals, as well as ensure increased efficiency in the health and care system. “The increased funding for the HealthTech Research Centers will build capacity and expertise in health technologies, bring new innovations to market and enable people to lead healthier, better quality lives.”