A new £1 million Imperial initiative which aims to fund experimental medicine proposals is now open for applications.

The Institute of Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) is a virtual institute which aims to support the translation of pre-clinical research projects into therapies, techniques and medical products that could bring improvements in human health and economic benefits. It is funded by, and a core part of, the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

The ITMAT call for projects is aimed at researchers in Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust who want to explore an idea or have carried out a study and need further funding to expand it.  The BRC has allocated up to £1 million worth of funding to support between eight and 12 one year proof-of-concept projects. Imperial College London - IRDB - 28062013

ITMAT is built upon a number of core technology health platforms across the College and the Trust, in which the BRC has invested significantly in recent years.  These range from gene sequencing and genome informatics facilities to improve the diagnosis and treatment of all diseases to analytical techniques provided through the Imperial Clinical Phenotyping Centre, which help doctors choose the best treatments based on a patient’s individual metabolic and physiological characteristics. Other facilities include MRI and PET imaging, biobanks which store human tissue samples for research and the NIHR / Wellcome Trust Imperial Clinical Research Facility at Hammersmith Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Applicants must engage with at least one of ITMAT’s core facilities in their studies and include plans for follow-on funding. Project proposals can cover a range of clinical areas: cancer; cardiovascular disease; infections; immunology; neuroscience; paediatrics; reproductive health and surgery.

Professor Jeremy Nicholson, Chair of the ITMAT Management Committee, said: “The launch of ITMAT means we can develop the best research projects that have the potential to progress from idea to health benefit.  Through ITMAT our researchers will be able to make the best use of our core health facilities to find new insights or innovations that could lead to improvements in patient care and clinical practice.  As Chair of ITMAT I look forward to supporting proposals that embody scientific excellence and address critical clinical needs.”

ITMAT is an example of Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre’s (AHSC) work to drive translational research towards medical advances that transform health outcomes for patients.  The AHSC is a joint initiative of Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Professor Jonathan Weber, Director of Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, added:  “ITMAT will provide the resources and infrastructure to allow researchers from across Imperial and the Trust to perform cutting-edge clinical research which could transform the delivery of patient care in the NHS and around the world.  Through the BRC’s funding we have state-of-the-art phenotyping, genotyping, imaging and biobanking capabilities which can be used by our researchers to make sure the advances of the laboratory are finding their way into the lives of patients.”

The deadline to apply for ITMAT funding is 5 May 2015. Further information for applicants is available on the Faculty of Medicine Community Blog.