Professor Subrata Ghosh
Professor Subrata Ghosh, director of Birmingham’s Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM), updates BQ2 on the progress of the £24m body dedicated to innovation in personalised medicine.
I’m delighted to say that the ITM is now very rapidly-maturing, the different teams are really coming together with their different visions, and we’re seeing the validation of the strategic model created by Birmingham Health Partners.
I have always believed that if you bring exceptional talent together in a cluster that the result will be many and diverse interactions, and that’s exactly what we’re now seeing, across an array of concepts, projects and programmes involving different disciplines.
When I came here, the building was almost empty, but now more than 200 people are working here, with more to come, and its a great sight. We’ve had lots of visits from national and international companies and organisations, which we regard as a tribute to our progress and to the success of the ITM concept.
The third floor of this wonderful building is now operating as a stand-alone medical devices testing and evaluation centre (MD-TEC) for simulation and diagnosis,which has immediately attracted doctors, researchers, and clinicians who are not engineers, to bring their problems and challenges to the team.
We also had a meeting here in February, to showcase to potential investors and industrialists what this centre could do to deliver innovative bio-materials and medical devices.
One remarkable product, for instance, is a new form of eye-drop – developed by Richard Williams – which can prevent scarring of the eye after trauma, or because of a disease, which is a major health challenge.
Liam Grover, a specialist in bio-materials, has developed a novel “cement”, which can repair defects in the dental area and in bones. He’s demonstrated that the concept works, and he’s now at the stage of seeking investment.
We have a novel endoscopy centre here, led by Marietta Iacucci, who specialises in immunology and immunotherapy, and when I saw her presentation on the latest advancements in endoscopic imaging, I was hugely impressed. She’s already achieved tremendous results, when she was working in Germany, Italy, Japan and North America, and we’re very lucky to have someone of such ability based at the ITM.
Another colleague is doing superb work on imaging the retina using new equipment to detect rare diseases, and Dion Morton is one of the country’s leading experts on genomics, so we really have assembled a very talented group, and there are too many others to mention.
We’ve also made tremendous progress on new ways to integrate multiple sources of data, because infomatics is becoming crucial to the timely delivery of so many treatments.
I think all these achievements, and more, really do validate the ITM concept because we’re seeing the immense benefits of working in a building that was designed to facilitate collaborations. If you include the right balance of space and infrastructure, then great partnerships and projects do come forward.
Its a very exciting place to be, and I’m constantly surprised by what is happening here. I always thought it would succeed by virtue of social engagement and professional interaction, rather than a traditional and rigid structure, but you still need to see the model and the theory become reality.
Looking ahead, we’ll continue to recruit and develop new talent, to help us break down barriers to advanced healthcare, and to work with our various partners to ensure that innovative treatments and products can be brought to market, and to front-line clinical use, as quickly as possible.”
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