At Norwich Research Park there is a multidisciplinary approach whereby clinical researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs work collaboratively to drive innovation and create solutions in medical research and development.
The Park is the proud home to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), where dedicated research staff can be performing up to 300 active studies at one time ranging from small local studies to those that are multi-site across the UK and the globe. These activities take place across a range of purpose-built facilities including the Clinical Research Facility at the Quadram Institute and the Bob Champion Research and Education building owned and managed by the UEA in partnership with the hospital.
A few examples of studies at the NNUH are:
- 100,000 Genomes Project, which was launched in 2016 to sequence 100,000 complete sets of DNA from patients with cancer and rare diseases.
- The Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study looks at ways of reducing the risk of diabetes through a new group exercise, diet, information and motivation programme.
- The Norfolk Arthritis Register is the largest community-based study in the world investigating the cause and outcome of inflammatory polyarthritis, which is inflammation and swelling of the joints.
As part of its medical research the NNUH also runs the Clinical Research Facility housed within the modern Quadram Institute building. The facility is home to a host of research studies, involving patients and volunteers, into a range of health conditions.
Medical research projects on the Norwich Research Park
Because of its close association with the NNUH Endoscopy Centre and links with Quadram Institute Bioscience and the University of East Anglia, the clinical research facility is the perfect location for research into food and nutrition. The results of these trials lead to new strategies and treatments for improving health and preventing related disease.
Fun fact: the NNUH was the first hospital to use 4D flow rate technology for identifying heart disease.
There are a number of different medical research groups on the Park that investigate all different aspects of Cancer like diagnosis, prevention, medical devices and therapies. To help improve links within these groups but also links with clinicians and research bodies the Norwich Cancer Research Network was established. The network showcases the breadth and depth of the cancer research in our region and helps to drive high quality research and open communication. Below are examples of the cancer research:
Colorectal Cancer Research
- A group at the UEA lead by Dr Mark Williams has been at the forefront of developing 3D models of the native human colonic epithelium (the outer layer of tissue). They have developed a living human intestinal organoid (artificial cells or tissue resembling an organ) platform to study chemoprevention & personalised medicine for colorectal cancer.
IBS and Bowel Cancer Research
- The Hall group at the Quadram Institute has a theme that focuses on the relationship between the microbiome and several diseases like Inflammatory Bowel Disease and cancer.
Prostate cancer research
- The cancer genetics team at UEA looks at prostate cancer, including analysing large datasets to identify its causes and evolution and the role bacteria plays in the disease. This team’s research led to the development of the PUR test, which analyses urine to detect the presence of prostrate cancer in a non-invasive way.
With great expertise in gut and microbiome research, there is a lot of focus on gastroenterology on the Park. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is being studied by a number of groups looking at how its affected by the microbes that live inside us and our diets.
Medical research with the Biorepository
Norwich Medical School is at the heart of the Norwich Research Park and is home to a Biorepository, a critical resource for storing human tissue samples for medical research. The Bob Champion Building is central to this research as it serves as a University of East Anglia teaching space for Norwich Medical School providing a nexus between theory, education, and real-world development.
You have likely heard that Antimicrobial Resistance is a huge problem, the World Health Organisation even declared it one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity. Researchers at the Earlham Institute, John Innes Centre and the Quadram Institute study antimicrobial resistance. They look at how it spreads, how it can evolve and how to reduce the spread and inform policy.
Biofilms are groups of microorganisms that have come together on a surface. Many bacteria commonly exist in the environment in biofilms, so to understand bacteria and their survival, it is vital we understand how biofilms form and how being in a biofilm helps bacteria survive. Researchers use their expertise to understand biofilms in a number of environments, including within the food chain and in the human gut, where the presence of bacteria in biofilms can have positive or negative impacts on our health.
This research is just the start of what is possible at Norwich Research Park. If you’re interested in finding out more about working on the Park, the institutions and buildings (such as the Norwich Medical School and Bob Champion Building), or want to become part of a cutting-edge medical research community contact us today.