Byline: JULIA MCWATT
MORE than pounds 7m is to be injected into developing new treatments for cancer and mental illness over the next three years, it was announced yesterday.
First Minister Carwyn Jones says the funding - from the Welsh Government's National Institute for Social Care and Health Research - will also help fund research to better understand major diseases.
Mr Jones, who made the announcement as the Medical Research Council held its council meeting in Cardiff, said the cash would reinforce Wales' reputation for "cutting edge" research and development. All the projects are based on partnerships between the NHS and university research groups.
He said: "This investment will help to cement Wales on the world stage as a place for cutting-edge research and development.
It is vital that Wales attracts the highest quality research academics, health professionals, students and businesses and retains that expertise. The knowledge gained through a collaborative approach between the NHS and universities will benchmark Wales with the best globally for health and life-sciences research."
The funding includes pounds 3m for the National Centre for Mental Health, led by Professors Mike Owen and Nick Craddock from Cardiff University, in partnership with all the health boards and several charities.
The Biomedical Research Centre, based in Cardiff, will be a focal point for finding better ways of treating people for a range of conditions including ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and Alzheimer's disease.
Prof Craddock said: "These investments will make a major contribution to our understanding of a range of common diseases."
An all-Wales medical image analysis and visualisation unit based in Bangor will use the latest techniques to diagnose and treat heart disease, prostate cancer and studies of the brain.
The unit, which costs pounds 1.28m, will be led by Professor Nigel W John from Bangor University's Research Institute of Visual Computing in partnership with the NHS in Wales and Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Swansea universities.
Research into diagnosis of thromboembolic disease, the third most common acute cardiovascular disease, is to be awarded pounds 1.465m.
This will be undertaken at Swansea University's Institute of Life Sciences, led by Professor Adrian Evans from Swansea University in collaboration with ABMU Health Board, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff and the medical devices company, Haemair.
The remainder of the money - pounds 1. …