The NICRF is a joint venture with the Health and Social Care, University of Ulster and Queens University and was established to provide state-of-the-art facilities to support clinical research. Based in Belfast City Hospital, the facility will enable more patients than ever before to take part in clinical trials in Northern Ireland.
Known as The Wellcome Trust-Wolfson Foundation Northern Ireland Clinical Research Facility (NICRF), it will concentrate on four main research themes; cancer, nutrition and metabolism, vision science and respiratory research. The facility will also benefit those with rare conditions, who, until now, have had to travel to England to participate in trials.
NICRF has the infrastructure to support clinical trials from conception to completion. With dedicated staff, the NICRF now allows researchers to access a specialised area for clinical research, including equipment not available in the NHS. It contains ten clinical rooms, a blood processing facility and a diet kitchen for nutrition studies.
A number of programmes are already underway. These include studies on asthma, cystic fibrosis and bronchietasis. Others are focusing on cardiovascular conditions including stroke and rare genetic conditions including Morquio syndrome.