New burns research centre announced

14 June 2013

A £6 million new burn injury research centre has been launched at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

The Healing Foundation Centre for Burns Research will look at understanding how the body responds to burn injury and developing new treatments for repair.

The centre is based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) and is a partnership between University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), University of Birmingham, Ministry of Defence, Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, University College London and the Royal Free Hospital in London.

It is one of two burn injury research centres funded by the Healing Foundation, alongside the Bristol Children’s Burns Research Centre, which was launched earlier this week. The two centres form the Burns Collective to share information and expertise.

The Birmingham centre is supported by Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT) and funded for five years with £1.5m investment from the Healing Foundation and funds from partner organisations of £4.5m.

The centre is led by the Director, Mr Naiem Moiemen, a consultant in burns and plastics at UHB and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and the announcement was made at the annual Burns Congress, a conference being held at QEHB for burns researchers and clinicians from all over the world.

Mr Moiemen said: “This research centre could not exist without the support of  the Healing Foundation and all the partners. QEHB and Birmingham Children’s Hospital are the clinical centres, and we will work closely with the University of Birmingham and our colleagues at UCL and the Royal Free. We also have our colleagues at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, so it is a collaborative effort.

“Burn injury is complex and can be particularly devastating for young people, and we hope the research underway will mean we can improve the outcomes for these patients. Reducing the impact of burn scarring is a big part of our work, and the contribution of clinicians, researchers and other staff at Birmingham Children’s Hospital will be critical to our success.

“What we need to establish eventually is a platform for all centres in the UK to contribute to burns research.”

Dame Julie Moore, Chief Executive of UHB, described her pride at the work being done in Birmingham on burns research: “I’m very proud of what we have achieved here already, particularly around trauma and burns research.

“It’s great to see the vision of linking up centres and researchers in networks, because it’s not about individuals in laboratories having eureka moments any more. It’s about collaboration. I want to thank the Healing Foundation for having the vision to support such centres.”

As well as improving our understanding of the biological processes of burns in adults and children, the centre will carry out translational clinical research to test the feasibility of larger trials. The findings will contribute to an increased understanding of the most serious clinical outcomes of burn injuries, such as multiple organ failure.