Funding of £770,000 to pursue breakthroughs in illness treatments

More than £770,000 has been awarded to three projects pursuing breakthroughs in treatments for a range of conditions.

Edinburgh Napier University scientists will use the grants for work on psychosis, abnormal heart rhythm and hepatitis C.

The £772,000 funding comes from from the Chief Scientist Office (CSO), part of the Scottish Government Health Directorates.

A total of  £287,000 has gone towards developing a psychological intervention which helps people with psychosis make their own decisions about treatment.

Dr Paul Hutton said: “We are delighted the CSO is supporting this project, which will mark the first attempt to use innovative ‘Umbrella’ trial methodology in mental health research.

“This approach, which essentially involves running multiple trials at the same time, thus saving time and money, has had remarkable success in accelerating interventions for cancer and other health conditions, but it has never before been used in mental health research.

“If it works, we hope other researchers will be able to use it to speed up the development of effective interventions for other mental health conditions.”

In the last 10 years in Scotland, people diagnosed with schizophrenia or related disorders have been judged unable to understand or weigh up information relevant to their treatment more than 22,000 times.

Health bodies have called for trials which will drive progress towards them being more capable of having a say.

A second grant of £283,000 will support efforts to develop a digital aid which helps sufferers of Atrial Fibrillation – an abnormal heart rhythm affecting more than two million in the UK – to take their medication.

Meanwhile, the final batch of funding will see £202,000 go towards supporting research which aims to develop GP-led treatment for the hepatitis C virus, an infection which attacks the liver and mostly affects people who have injected drugs.

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