The NIHR Imperial BRC Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) is the cornerstone of our approach to translation of pre-clinical research projects into therapies, techniques and medical products. The aim of ITMAT is to accelerate fundamental discoveries into improvements in human health and economic benefits. ITMAT is a virtual centre built on a number of core technology platforms across Imperial College London and the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. ITMAT includes genomics platforms, imaging technologies and health informatics, along with the NIHR Wellcome Trust Imperial Clinical Research Facility (ICRF), and one of the largest tissue collections in Europe. As well as an annual funding call to support specific translational projects, ITMAT supports translational medicine through the following:
We integrate multimodal clinical and ‘omics data to describe phenotypic variations and increase our understanding of patient biology and diversity. Our systems approach facilitates new knowledge of the causes and development of chronic human diseases, resulting in improved treatments, preventive approaches, patient stratification and personalised therapy. As part of ITMAT, the Data Science Institute offers powerful new tools and expertise to help clinical analyse, interpret and visualize large datasets. Routinely-collected clinical electronic data is being used collaboratively across 5 BRCs to answer research questions in Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), renal transplantation, viral hepatitis, critical care and ovarian cancer.
ITMAT Data Science Group
With BRC funding, ITMAT provides a talent pool of expertise in bioinformatics. This is composed of six domain data scientists (bioinformatics, genomics, software engineering, biostatistics, and imaging). The group is headed by Professor Robert Glen from the Department of Surgery and Cancer and co-led by Dr Elsa Angelini. The focus of the Data Science Group is to enable scientific discovery through the curation and sharing of data, advanced applications of computational methods, development of novel algorithms and software, implementation of analytical pipelines, and maintenance of existing software tools. In addition to having expertise in state of the art data analytics, the group has expertise in the use of high-performance computing (HPC) at Imperial.
ITMAT provides the resources and infrastructure to support tissue biobanking across the Trust, including through;
- The NIHR BioResource initiative – a partnership between the BRCs in London, Cambridge and Oxford, and the Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) in Leicester, aiming to increase the number of patients involved in research and appeal to the commercial sector.
- The NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (NIHR HIC) – a collaboration between Imperial, UCLH, Oxford, Cambridge, and Guy’s, to share and re-use data collected in the course of routine patient care for collaborative, translational research.
With the capacity to analyse more than 50,000 biofluid and 5,000 tissue samples per year, the Imperial Clinical Phenotyping Centre applies Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MSI) to discover new disease biomarkers for real-time diagnostics and monitoring, ultimately informing clinical decisions.
Genetics and Genomics
We apply genetics, genome biology, genome technologies, and genome informatics to better predict patient risk before a disease develops, and create novel preventative strategies and treatment methods for a range of hereditary diseases. The BRC-funded Genomics Facility delivers high throughput sequence data, as well as support.
With capacity and expertise in imaging technologies, we develop and apply novel diagnostic biomarkers and approaches to improve clinical decision making, predictive and prognostic biomarkers, and approaches for defining patient heterogeneity and improving patient management. We undertake first-in-man and deep phenotyping studies and co-ordinate studies using advanced imaging through the Clinical Imaging Facility.
With support from NIHR, the NIHR Imperial Clinical Research Facility occupies 1500 sq.m of the ground floor of the Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine building on our Hammersmith Hospital Campus.