£18m lab complex will discover the clues to individuals’ illnesses

The University of Manchester has opened doors to its multi-million pound Stoller Biomarker Discovery Centre, which will identify the unique markers of diseases such as cancer or arthritis. These markers will be developed to ensure the right treatment for the right patient as early as possible.

The Stoller Biomarker Discovery Centre, which is funded by a philanthropic gift from the Stoller Charitable Trust, the Medical Research Council and in partnership with SCIEX, will help to industrialise the process of identifying biomarkers – the molecular clues that indicate the presence of a disease or other condition.

By detecting these on a scale never seen before in Europe, University scientists and clinicians will be able to work with health companies and the NHS to produce a greater number of tests and develop new treatments to accelerate the process of curing many of the most serious illnesses faced today.

Medicines have historically been developed for whole populations, but biomarkers help to stratify patients so they get the right treatment for them, not one size fits all.  In cancer work already ongoing in the Centre has identified possible tests to detect ovarian cancer earlier disease, gaining valuable advantage by being able to treat this disease earlier and therefore more effectively.

Professor Tony Whetton is the Director of the new Centre.  He said: “The Centre is a major step forward in precision medicine.  Essentially this is the future of healthcare – getting the right treatment to the right person at the right time and in the right dose.

“Without the knowledge of biomarkers we won’t be able to identify which people need treatment or who will benefit from certain medicines, so this new centre underpins everything we’re doing in precision medicine in Manchester and beyond.”

The Stoller Biomarker Centre is located at CityLabs Manchester, in the midst of biotechnology companies, the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Manchester.

The new Centre is stocked with a large suite of high-end SCIEX mass spectrometers, including TripleTOF® 6600 Systems with SWATH Acquisition, QTRAP® 6500+ Systems, and the SCIEX Lipidyzer Platform, for measuring molecules in proteins (proteomics). The University of Manchester has also invested in a number of liquid chromatography and automated sample preparation components for the Centre, from SCIEX and other Danaher life science companies.

“SCIEX’s mission of innovating integrated, reliable analytical tools to gain scientific understandings that lead to better health, enables our customers to advance precision medicine with scale and speed like never before,” said Jean-Paul Mangeolle, President of SCIEX.

“And it takes more than providing great instruments to be part of a movement as important as Precision Medicine; it takes strong collaborations with customers, partnerships with industry leaders and teamwork with our colleagues at other the Danaher Corporation life companies, to establish and deploy the most comprehensive proteomics solutions.”

The Centre will build on research carried out at Manchester including discovering new markers for the earlier detection of cancers – crucial in starting early treatment to save lives. Work to identify new biomarkers for diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular, Alzheimer’s and psoriasis will also be enhanced.

The Centre will work in the newly devolved healthcare system in Greater Manchester, as the city-region and major bodies and companies operating within it work to remove bottlenecks such as making the transition from lab to bedside with new tests and drugs.

President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell said: “Manchester has become a major hub for precision medicine and proteomics we are very grateful to the funders who have backed the cutting-edge work that is carried out by our scientists.

“As a result of their generosity, The Stoller Biomarker Discovery Centre will start work on addressing some of the biggest issues in medicine in an environment where these discoveries can move quickly to improve people’s lives.”