Strand Lead: Professor Steven Clifford
Biomedical research activity focuses on the development of novel techniques for disease stratification, drawing on the expertise of local leaders in the field and facilitating the implementation of their findings into clinical practice. Our well-equipped in-vitro diagnostic development laboratory in the Cellular Pathology Department in the Royal Victoria Infirmary, staffed by both University and NHS employees, provides a dynamic environment for this translation of these novel stratification approaches.
Four initial ‘foundation’ project areas have been selected. These exploit links to major ongoing translational research programmes in Newcastle:
- In LIVER DISEASE (Prof. Jones, Dr. Brain), we are addressing the clear un-met need to accurately subtype patients with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC) before their disease progresses.
- In CHILDHOOD CANCER (Profs. Clifford and Tweddle), we host the national reference centres for medulloblastoma and neuroblastoma molecular diagnostics, developing and validating novel biomarker assays, including next-generation sequencing and genetic/epigenetic signatures, to guide molecularly-driven treatments and trials.
- In INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE (Dr. Lamb; British Society of Gastroenterology “Young Gastroenterologist of the Year” 2014), techniques such as multispectral imaging are being used to explore the how rare immune cell subsets and host genome interactions impact immune function and disease pathogeneis in individual patients.
- In MITOCHONDRIAL DISEASE (Prof. Taylor), studies directed towards improved diagnostics include novel techniques to quantify mitochondrial dysfunction in individual muscle fibres using quadruple immunofluorescence, including automates image capture and analysis.