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Wales to Fund Genetics Studies for Mental Health, Cancer

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Wales this week said that it has invested nearly £5.8 million ($9.3 million) in new programs that will use genetics, genomics, and biomedical imaging technologies for research into mental health and cancer and for developing new technologies for other diseases.

The funding includes a £3M grant from the National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR), part of the UK's National Health Service, to combine genomics and mental health research efforts in a center based at Cardiff University.

Another £1.5 million grant will focus on cancer genetics research at the Cardiff University School of Medicine, and will link a new cancer genetics building there with other professional groups to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. The funding also includes a three-year, £1.3 million award to fund an image analysis and visualization unit that will focus on development of diagnostic, treatment, and training technologies for heart disease, prostate cancer, and brain studies.

The National Centre for Mental Health program will involve scientists from Cardiff's Medical Research Council Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics & Genomics and Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute working with frontline professionals from throughout the country.

"Mental health problems can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender or social background," Cardiff School of Medicine Professor Nick Craddock, who will head the new center, said in a statement. "That is why it is crucial that we have a national centre that brings frontline professionals in all parts of Wales together with academics to help develop the best possible treatments for Welsh patients."

"The National Centre for Mental Health will also take a fresh approach to studying and treating mental health conditions, working closely with patients to look at what the underlying causes and triggers are for mental illness and new ways to treat conditions," added Wales' Chief Medical Officer, Tony Jewell, in a statement from the NHS.

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