University of Cambridge to establish two new Blood and Transplant Research Units


The University of Cambridge has received £7.9 million from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to fund Blood and Transplant Research Units. Each Unit is a partnership between University researchers and NHS Blood and Transplant and will begin in October 2015.


Blood and transplantation research is vital to improving the quality, safety and availability of donation and transplantation.
Andrew Bradley

Cambridge has received funding for two units under the £12.1 million scheme. The Units will be centres of excellence in human experimental medicine related to blood and transplantation and will have a strong focus on translation. They will support the delivery of objectives and functions of NHS Blood and Transplant, by creating an environment where world-class research, focused on the organisation’s needs, can thrive, and will provide high quality research evidence to inform decision making at NHS Blood and Transplant.

Speaking about the partnership funding awards, Dr Lorna Williamson, Medical and Research Director at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "I am delighted that the Department of Health, through the NIHR, continues to recognise the importance of blood and transplantation research. This funding supports ambitious experimental research projects that will inform future clinical practice for services that NHS Blood and Transplant provides to the NHS and beyond."

Professor Andrew Bradley, Head of the Department of Surgery at the University of Cambridge, in partnership with Professor Andrew Fisher from Newcastle University, will establish a unit focused on organ donation and transplantation. The Cambridge/Newcastle unit will focus on understanding how to improve the quality of organs prior to donation and will develop and evaluate novel approaches and technologies that increase the availability of suitable donor organs for transplantation, while improving graft survival.

Professor John Danesh from the Cambridge Institute of Public Health will lead a unit focused on donor health and genomics, a new area of research for NHS Blood and Transplant. The Unit will address major questions about the health of blood donors and produce evidence-based strategies to enhance donor safety while ensuring sustainability of blood supply. 

The Units will be based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, part of the Cambridge University Hospitals Partnership, and located within the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the centrepiece of the largest biotech cluster outside the United States.

Professor Bradley said: “Blood and transplantation research is vital to improving the quality, safety and availability of donation and transplantation. These two new NIHR units will play an important role in this area and inform NHS policy and practice in the future. They will further add to and capitalise on continuing growth of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.”

Professor Dame Sally C Davies FRS FMedSci, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health, said: “The NHS and its patients rely on an efficient supply of blood and organ donations and, increasingly, stem cells and genomics. We want researchers to explore how to improve the quality and effectiveness of these donations, therapies and technologies. The NIHR Blood and Transplant Research Units will involve NHSBT in partnerships with leading university teams so that we can accelerate and translate advances in research into benefits for donors and patients.”

A third unit is due to open at UCL (University College London), led by Dr Karl Peggs and focused on Stem Cells and Immunotherapies.

Image Credit: Siringa



The Cambridge Institute of Public Health (CIPH) is a partnership of researchers and agencies working to improve public health, founded by the University of Cambridge, the NHS and the Medical Research Council.

Cambridge Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge