Published Wednesday, 18 September 2013
It is hoped the Wellcome Trust-Wolfson Foundation Northern Ireland Clinical Research Facility will enable more patients than ever before to take part in clinical trials.
The centre, based in Belfast City Hospital, will focus on four research themes - cancer, nutrition and metabolism, vision science and respiratory research.
Health Minister Edwin Poots said he hopes it can help provide information which improves the cost-effectiveness and value for money of the health service.
The DUP man said: "This new state-of-the-art facility is an important element of NI's health research infrastructure and will enhance our ability to produce valuable, useable results.
"Across the NI Health and Social Care Trusts, we have invested significantly, especially in the past five years, so that our professional staff can undertake research directly relevant to their patients and practice and can use the knowledge gained from that research."
Researchers hope the facility, jointly established by local universities and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, can benefit those with rare conditions, who, until now, have had to travel to England to participate in trials.
It contains ten clinical rooms, a blood processing facility and a diet kitchen for nutrition studies, and is planned to host hundreds of clinical trials each year.
Dr John Williams, Head of Clinical Activities at the Wellcome Trust, said: "Working with patients is a crucial part of the Wellcome Trust's mission to turn laboratory discoveries into improvements in human health. This new facility will act as a focus for clinical studies in Northern Ireland, providing core resources for internationally recognised research."
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