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Newcastle Journal -
Apr. 05, 2007
A health centre that will be at the
forefront of the race to develop drugs for chronic diseases
such as arthritis, diabetes and MS opened officially in the North
The Wilson Horne Immunotherapy Centre at Newcastle's Royal Victoria
Infirmary puts the region at the forefront of early phase trials of
treatments using new drugs that target the human immune system.
hope to begin work next year on the world's first project on people
with rheumatoid arthritis using a technique to manipulate white blood
cells and replant them in the body to stop the disease.
was opened by Wilson Horne, a former Newcastle University professor who
donated pounds 1m from the sale of his medical company, Novocastra
Laboratories, to develop the unit.
Centre director John Isaacs, a professor of clinical rheumatology at
the university, said: "This dedicated facility enables patients for
whom standard treatments are not working to be treated with new drugs
in a safe clinical environment.
same time it allows us to intensively investigate the patients so that
we can obtain as much information as possible about how the drugs
The centre has a
dedicated team of nursing
staff, a lab technician and administrative support. Facilities include
a treatment area with state-of-the-art ultrasound imaging equipment, a
procedures room to enable biopsy of diseased tissues and a laboratory
to enable samples to be processed rapidly.
said: "It is an area I was interested in, so it is good the money has
been applied to clinical treatment."
Armstrong, 57, from Carlisle, and formerly Hexham, has been taking part
in a trial of a drug to treat his severe rheumatoid arthritis at the
centre for 12 months.
He ran his
own business as a roofer for 26 years, but his condition became so
severe that he had to give up the business.
"Before I took part in this trial I was housebound. I'm a different
person now. I hope I might eventually be able to go back to work
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