The University of Edinburgh MRC Centre for Inflammation Research has a multi-disciplinary approach to the research of mechanisms underlying inflammatory disorders with the aim of designing new treatments for and new methods to monitor and image these important conditions.
Inflammation is a process used by the body to fight infection and heal injuries, and is often noticed as soreness and swelling. However, if inflammation is not controlled correctly by the body it may cause illnesses such as asthma and arthritis. Long term (or chronic) inflammatory disorders are amongst the major killers in the UK, including heart disease, lung and airway disease (e.g. associated with smoking), chronic liver disease (e.g. associated with viral infection and alcohol) and chronic kidney disease. Uncontrolled inflammation also leads to tissue scarring (fibrosis) which can prevent organs such as the lung, kidney and liver from working properly.
Whilst this range of disorders may appear daunting, the fact that they may have a common cause means that by understanding the biology of inflammation, we will be able to design generic approaches to a range of disorders affecting different organs. We are also developing methods to look at the inflammation and scars within the body to allow us to treat the problems more effectively without having to take tissue samples from the organs.
The CIR was established in 1999 to bring together a critical mass of internationally outstanding researchers in inflammation harnessing the skills of both basic and clinical scientists. MRC Centre status was awarded in 2000 and successfully renewed in 2005 and 2010. In 2005, the CIR moved to the Queen's Medical Research Institute next to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. The institute also houses the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh/ British Heart Foundation Centre for Cardiovascular Science and Clinical Research Imaging Centre in state-of-the-art facilities for 600 bench scientists supported by cutting-edge research technology in gene manipulation, genomics, proteomics, informatics and imaging.