Accelerating personalized mental health care

June 29, 2009

A powerful new research facility at the heart of King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre is being launched today by Professor Dame Sally C Davies, Director General of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Health. The Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Nucleus is funded by a £3M infrastructure grant from South London and Maudsley Charitable Funds (£1.8M) and Guy's and St Thomas' Charity (£1.2M) to create a unique centre housing key translational initiatives to support the development of novel therapies and treatments for mental health and related disorders.

Part of the National Institute for Health Research funded specialist BRC for Mental Health at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and King's College London, the BRC Nucleus will bring together expertise in epidemiological, biological and bio-statistical research to power the collection, linkage, integration and analysis of complex data in a way not previously possible; to develop new biomarker-led approaches to treating mental health and improving service provision for patients in the local community.

The BRC Nucleus will house groundbreaking research initiatives designed to accelerate improvements in healthcare, such as:

The Case Register Interactive Search (CRIS) tool - a computer programme capable of anonymising data from SLaM clinical records offering researchers opportunities to ask questions which they haven't been able to answer before. For example: Is there a test for those with Alzheimer's disease that can show if drugs would be the best treatment? Do some drugs for schizophrenia affect physical health, e.g. diabetes? Do people's home living arrangements affect how long they spend as inpatients, receiving care in hospital wards?

OPCRIT+ - a unique software programme designed to standardise diagnosis of psychiatric illnesses and collect quality data to support research for patient benefit. Together CRIS and OPCRIT+ offer the potential to exploit the previously untapped resource of patient records for patient benefit.

The BRC Community Survey of households in South East London and the BRC Care Home Study which aim to improve understanding of the needs of the population served by SLaM and other health partners and allow SLaM to improve and tailor the quality of its service provision to meet local needs and support research.

Professor Matthew Hotopf, Director of the BRC Nucleus and Chair of the BRC Analytical Methods Theme said: "The BRC Nucleus is unparalleled in the comprehensive data it will offer researchers. We are delighted this exciting facility is now open for business and the BRC for Mental Health can accelerate translational medicine in pursuit of personalised mental health care."

Professor Simon Lovestone, Director of the BRC for Mental Health adds: "The BRC Nucleus has the potential to bring the power of modern, biomedical science to transform the diagnosis, assessment and ultimately treatment, of people with mental health problems."
For further information please contact Louise Pratt, Acting Public Relations and Communications Manager, NIHR BRC for Mental Health and Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, tel: 020 7848 5378 or email:

Notes to editors

The NIHR BRC for Mental Health

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) for Mental Health is a partnership between the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London (KCL) and is funded by the NIHR. The NIHR is leading a drive to make the NHS one of the foremost biomedical research organisations in the world and the new BRCs have a strong focus on 'translational research' - taking advances in basic medical research out of the laboratory and into the clinical setting so they can benefit patients. The main aim is to create an environment that successfully brings together scientific investigators and clinicians to further patient-based research. The NIHR BRC for Mental Health was established on April 1 2007 and is one of 12 BRCs established nationally. It is the only specialist BRC in Mental Health and KCL is the only organisation to partner all three types of BRC including the NIHR Comprehensive BRC at Guy's and St Thomas' and the King's Patient Safety and Service Quality Research Centre with King's College Hospital NHS Trust. For further information visit

King's Health Partners

King's College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust are part of King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC), a pioneering collaboration between King's College London, and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts. King's Health Partners is one of only five AHSCs in the UK and brings together an unrivalled range and depth of clinical and research expertise, spanning both physical and mental health. Our combined strengths will drive improvements in care for patients, allowing them to benefit from breakthroughs in medical science and receive leading edge treatment at the earliest possible opportunity. For more information, visit

About the NIHR

The National Institute for Health Research provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients:

Guy's and St Thomas' Charity

Guy's and St Thomas' Charity is one of the UK's largest and most innovative NHS charities. The Charity's aim is to ensure patients get the very best care possible in the best environment by funding new services and approaches to healthcare at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Lambeth, NHS Southwark, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Other organisations can also apply for service innovation funding with sponsorship from one of the beneficiary Trusts. The Charity also funds health-related research in partnership with academic institutions, focusing on research which can be translated into patient care. It also provides a thriving visual and performance art programme to enhance the patient experience.

The Charity's work is made possible by donations from patients, their families and members of the public. It undertakes fundraising campaigns to support major projects and specific areas of need, including the Evelina Children's Hospital and the planned Integrated Cancer Centre for London.

For further information contact Kate Mensah, Head of Communications on Tel: 020 7188 1218 or mob: 077 22 119157 or email: or visit

The South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Funds

The South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Funds originated when a charitable deed of gift in 1247 by Alderman Simon FitzMary, a Sheriff of the city of London founded the endowments to the Bethlem Hospital. On the establishment of The South London and Maudsley NHS Trust in 1999 and dissolution of the Bethlem and Maudsley NHS Trust, the assets of the endowments were transferred to the new Trust together with funds from Lewisham & Guy's Mental Health NHS Trust and Lambeth Healthcare NHS Trust. The Funds are administered within the South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust separately from the exchequer funds by the full Board of the NHS Trust acting as a Corporate Trustee.

SLaM Charitable Funds make grants for projects aimed at patient and staff welfare and amenities, research projects and for service and capital developments of the SLaM NHS Foundation Trust and other organisations associated to the Trust. It supports initiatives that enhance the mental healthcare services of the NHS Trust, the community it serves and its academic partners.

King's College London

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