The government has today (9 September) unveiled details of how it will help thousands of people across the country living with debilitating, painful and/or sometimes life-threatening diseases by investing £133 million in life-changing treatments for arthritis and cancer and for pioneering gene-based therapies for diseases including dementia and Parkinson’s.
Faster, more accurate diagnosis and earlier interventions will be boosted by £50 million to be pumped into NHS diagnostic services and support the work of existing Centres of Excellence in digital pathology and imaging with artificial intelligence. The centres – based in Leeds, Oxford, Coventry and London – will be able to partner with more NHS Trusts and further develop cutting edge products using digital systems and artificial intelligence that could ultimately save lives.
Adult social care will also receive a new cash injection of £7.5 million to use research to improve care delivery for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and £14 million for bioscience projects and technologies across the UK that could, for example, treat osteoarthritis and develop new vaccines.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:
“Chronic and painful illnesses like arthritis and Parkinson’s are dreadful and prevent people from living a full life.
“Curing these kinds of debilitating illnesses is one of the great challenges we face globally, and today’s commitment will play a vital role in ensuring that our scientists and thinkers have the tools they need to find new treatments that will support people to lead longer healthier lives.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“We’ve got to bring NHS technology into the 21st century. I’ve seen for myself how better technology and diagnosis can save clinicians’ time so they can concentrate on care. The NHS is now spearheading world-leading technologies that can transform and save lives through new treatments, diagnosis techniques and care. I’m determined that the benefits of these advances will improve the lives of thousands of patients whose conditions have long been considered life-limiting.
“Combined with this new funding, none of this would be possible without the long-term plan, backed by an extra £33.9 billion a year for the NHS.”
Minister for Innovation Nicola Blackwood said:
“The UK is a global powerhouse in health research and innovation. The investments announced today will cement this, and help to further deliver on the NHS’s international leadership on applying artificial intelligence to complex health problems. Today’s announcement is good for patients, good for staff and good for researchers.”
UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said:
“Supporting people to live long, healthy and independent lives is a fundamental value of our society and, as our population ages, one of the biggest challenges we face.
“This £133 million investment will tackle important chronic diseases and also create a national centre of evidence for implementing the best evidence to provide adult social care.”
A further £69.5 million of the total investment through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will help fund 4 British projects:
- Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator: ‘NATA’ (£30 million) – brand new therapies and technologies directly targeting genetic mutations could be rolled out to treat diseases including cancer, Huntingdon’s, Parkinson’s and arthritis;
- The Advanced Pain Discovery Platform (£12 million) – deepening our understanding of pain, this will reveal new treatment approaches and address a wide spectrum of chronic and debilitating conditions including arthritis. Versus Arthritis will contribute an additional £12 million over 3 years;
- UK Centre of Evidence Implementation in Adult Social Care (£7.5 million) – using high-quality research, this project will lead to improvements in the delivery of social care across the UK; implementing innovations with the potential to allow more people to receive care from the comfort of their own home;
- Tackling Multimorbidity at scale (£20 million, of which the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) is contributing £10 million) – this research into multimorbidity – when someone is suffering 2 or more long-term health conditions – will propel forward drug development, allow for earlier diagnosis and reduce progression to more severe illness and disability.