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Posts from the ‘Posts’ Category

Actually, we do fund studies of illicit drugs

A cannabis plant

(Image: Drome on Flickr under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Whatever you might have heard in the media, we do fund research into illicit psychoactive drugs. Here Dr Kathryn Adcock, Head of Neurosciences and Mental Health at the MRC, explains.

You might have seen in the news today that Professor David Nutt, Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, has said that UK funders are unwilling to fund research that uses illicit drugs.

But we agree that recreational drugs may have therapeutic benefits, and we encourage research in this area. That’s why in 2012 we funded Professor Nutt to the tune of over £500,000 for his research into whether psilocybin – the active ingredient in magic mushrooms – can treat major depression. In 2013 we funded his £250,000 project to use psilocybin in schizophrenia research. Read more

A look back at Peter Medawar

Peter Medawar with colleagues at the NIMR

Peter Medawar with colleagues at the NIMR

Peter Medawar, Nobel Laureate and Director of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in the 1960s, was born 100 years ago on 28 February. Here Frank Norman, Head of Library Services at the NIMR, looks back on how his research into skin grafts led to modern organ transplants, and his significant role in encouraging and supporting young scientists.

It was in 1940 that transplantation sparked the interest of the young Peter Medawar. While working as a researcher at the University of Oxford, an RAF plane crashed near to his home and one of the airmen suffered severe burns.

Through his experience of trying to help the airman, Medawar became interested in treating burn victims with skin grafts – a risky and often unsuccessful intervention. He prepared a review of the literature, Notes on the problem of skin homografts, which he sent to the War Wounds Committee of the MRC. Read more

Data sharing: a patient perspective

Genomic data from patients is a rich source of information for research into how our genes affect our health and here at the MRC we are keen to harness its power as part of our vision for informatics research. But what do patients think about their genomic data being shared for research? Here Alice Hazelton, Public Engagement Officer for Genetic Alliance UK, writes about the charity’s efforts to find out.

Families from SWAN UK tour the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Families from SWAN UK tour the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (Image copyright: Genetic Alliance UK/Joshua Tucker)

 

Genomic information has the potential to transform healthcare. Researchers are continually learning more about the genome and the genetic basis of disease and as the cost of genome sequencing technologies and analytics tools fall, more and more research will become possible.

This will help us to achieve a greater understanding of how our genes affect our health and develop new diagnostic tools, screening methods and treatments for some conditions. The sharing of patient data will play a crucial role in this. Read more