Our Grand Challenges
As an Academic Health Sciences Centre, King’s Health Partners aims to improve health care locally and globally, and to transform medicine through ground-breaking basic science research across the biomedical spectrum. These are big tasks, and so to help us achieve these, and our specific research objectives, we are developing a research strategy.
King’s Health Partners already has major areas of strength and excellence in research that we must develop further if we are to meet our goal of being the UK’s leading AHSC. The paper, ‘Developing a strategy for research for King’s Health Partners’ describes the four Grand Challenges that have been identified as paths for further development in the AHSC’s research. These are:
1. Drug development and discovery
AHSCs play a vital role in the discovery of new drugs and innovative treatments for patients by removing some of the institutional barriers that prevent or delay therapies from entering routine clinical practice. At King’s Health Partners we bring together research expertise in a comprehensive range of scientific areas, clinical specialities and sub-specialties. Through the NIHR Biomedical Research Centres we are bringing together researchers and clinicians, and building infrastructure such as our Experimental Medicine Hub in Guy’s Tower and Clinical Research Facilities at all three acute hospitals. We want to make a significant impact on the development of novel drug and other therapeutics and ensure that these innovations are effectively translated into benefits for patients.
2. Research informatics
The coming together of four organisations in our AHSC brings both challenges and opportunities when it comes to effectively managing and interpreting data, and we are exploring the exciting opportunities presented by large variable datasets from genomics through imaging to electronic medical records. The analysis of anonymised clinical information for research has huge potential to generate findings that can be fed back into our systems to improve patient care, whilst being mindful of meeting the sensitive challenges presented by ensuring data security.
3. Personalised medicine and individualised therapies
The development of personalised medicine is at the forefront of medical science. Both pharmaceutical and psychological therapies are being developed, geared to treat individuals based on their genetic make-up, or personality type. At King’s Health Partners we are looking at maximising our strengths in key areas of biomarker development – genomics, imaging, proteomics.
4. The new public health, primary care and prevention
Our local population is one of the most ethnically, socially and economically diverse in London with some of the poorest health indicators in the country. This includes higher than average London (and England) rates of early deaths from heart disease and cancer as well as higher than average rates of obesity and mental health problems. Our research strategy in this area will address the health needs of our patients locally but will also have a global impact. This challenge is about working closely with primary care colleagues and other partners in health and social care locally, seeking research based, tailored interventions which can impact positively on the health of our populations,.
These four Grand Challenges set the scene for the development of the King’s Health Partners Research Strategy. We have established four workgroups to plan how best we can tackle these challenges and produce a comprehensive strategy that will enable King’s Health Partners to meet its ambitious goals.