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Boulton and Watt Commemoration Lecture

On 6th November 2015, we held our annual Boulton and Watt Commemoration Lecture ‘The Third Industrial Revolution –  how the digital revolution is impacting on health’, at The Institute of Translational Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Here, we report on the findings of the lecture:

The healthcare sector faces many challenges but one of the biggest is to get new drugs and technology into the healthcare system itself, according to Dr Tom Clutton-Brock, Interim Director of The Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM) in Birmingham.  Dr Clutton-Brock, together with Tim Jones, Executive Director of Delivery at The Institute, jointly delivered the 2015 Lunar Society Boulton and Watt Commemoration Lecture at The Institute which is housed in the former QE Hospital building.

“The challenge is how to get new drugs and technology into healthcare.There are financial challenges, safety challenges and big cultural challenges to achieve that,” said Dr Clutton-Brock.

The Institute has been established to service the ‘engine’ to translate laboratory discovery into improved and personalised patient care.

“Birmingham is better than anywhere else.  We truly are a unique city: well connected, in the middle of the country, a gateway with an excellent airport, affordable – and with the West Midlands having the equivalent population of Scotland.  We also have huge diversity in our population that is largely static in its movement.”

Dr Clutton-Brock said the Institute acts as a central meeting point and working hub allowing clinicians, academics, patient groups and industry to develop productive collaborative networks.  Its aim is to facilitate the rapid assessment of cost-effective new drugs and medical devices, and bespoke design of clinical trials that will result in effective monitoring and robust interpretation of outcomes.

The ITM has a particular focus on early phase clinical trials in cancer, rare disease (where the region’s ethnic diversity means The Institute is well placed to study and treat a variety of rare diseases), chronic disease, devices and diagnostics, and acute care.

Lunar Society members and guests also saw advanced technology in action– with Dr Clutton-Brock wearing a monitoring pad that, on screen, showed his key functions during the previous two hours – including a heart rate spike that coincided when he first started delivering his part of the lecture.

The lecture, which was chaired by Jacqui Smith, Vice Chair of The Lunar Society, was hosted by The Institute which is delivered by Birmingham Health Partners bringing together University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, University of Birmingham and Birmingham Children’s’ Hospital  NHS Foundation Trust as well as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

We truly are a unique city: well connected, in the middle of the country, a gateway with an excellent airport, affordable – and with the West Midlands having the equivalent population of Scotland