Expert lauds Derry research lab

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A medical technology and research centre based in Derry has been hailed as one of the best in the world.

Dr Susan Whoriskey, renowned for her innovative work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Entrepreneurship Center, says the facilities at the Altnagelvin based C-TRIC (Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre) are second to none.

“I was very impressed on my visit to C-TRIC, and Northern Ireland is lucky to have such a centre. I have never seen such an excellent convergence of facilities, expertise and partnership under one roof as is present in C-TRIC.”

The 9,000 sq ft complex, in the grounds of Altnagelvin Hospital, is a one-stop-shop for technology entrepreneurs, academic medical and healthcare researchers, and commercially-funded clinical studies.

World-leading

Dr Whoriskey is one of a number of the world’s leading healthcare innovators who have converged on Derry this week for a major conference discussing the impact of chronic illnesses.

The two day Translational Medicine Conference, hosted by the University of Ulster in conjunction with C-TRIC, draws to a close today.

Now in its third year, Translational medicine is the transformation of laboratory findings into new ways to diagnose and treat patients.

Trung Do, Executive Director of Business Development at Boston based Partners HealthCare - also a member of C-TRIC’s International Advisory Board - says the conference, held in the City Hotel, provides a platform for local and international companies to build on the connection between Northern Ireland’s world class health, business and academic sectors.

“The Translational Medicine Conference will be an excellent opportunity for us to get together and develop projects, many of which could benefit from the expertise and facilities on offer at C-TRIC.”

In the United States, health organisations invest an estimated $500 million annually in 60 such centres, as part of a new emphasis on the ‘bench-to-bedside’approach to research and development within healthcare.

Major impact

Dr Maurice O’Kane, Chief Executive of C-TRIC and Head of Research and Development, Western Health and Social Care Trust says work going on in Derry could have a major impact for people across the world.

“There is something really interesting and exciting happening in clinical research in the North West at the moment. The degree to which different organisations have worked together on this important initiative is unique.

“This Translational Medicine Conference demonstrates how in partnership we can play a vital role in translating medical advances from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside. This is an essential step that will ultimately lead to improving the care we offer patients and the public.”

The £2m C-TRIC centre was opened two years ago. It is jointly operated and supported by the University of Ulster, the Western Trust and the City Council.