In an important first for the charity, Humanimal Trust has announced its support for two ongoing child-focused medical research studies. Both studies have the potential to benefit animals as well as children and to demonstrate the value of One Medicine, sharing learning between the worlds of human and veterinary medicine. Humanimal Trust has contributed an initial £5000 to each study - whose primary funder and administrator is Action Medical Research - with the potential for further funding in subsequent years.
This marks a significant step for Humanimal Trust. In addition to directly funding research and education programmes, and encouraging collaboration between veterinary and human medical professionals through its online Hub, this funding signals a commitment to developing other funding relationships. By contributing to a wider range of studies, the charity will draw greater attention to research with the potential to benefit both humans and animals equitably.
The two studies focus respectively, on infection prevention and its impact on antimicrobial resistance in critically ill children (led by Dr Nazima Pathan, Lecturer in Paediatric Intensive Care at the University of Cambridge) and improving the management and outcome of juvenile idiopathic arthritis through development of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging for assessing disease activity and drug response (led by Professor Margaret Hall-Craggs, Professor of Medical Imaging and Consultant Radiologist at University College London).
Both of these research projects, awarded by Action Medical Research (for their potential) to benefit children, fit comfortably within Humanimal Trust’s One Medicine ethos and have wide-ranging and far reaching potential benefits not just for human patients, but for animal patients too.
The issue of antimicrobial resistance is a global problem currently challenging humans, companion and farm animals. It can only be solved through collaborative efforts and a united One Medicine approach. Research including Dr Pathan’s project, which aims to develop new ways to prevent infection while managing the threat of antibiotic resistance, will help tackle an important aspect of this widespread issue. The research can also produce transferable data which could be directly applicable in a veterinary setting.
Professor Hall-Craggs’ research shows similar transferrable potential, as inflammatory and degenerative joint conditions can affect animals too. For example, degenerative joint disease is extremely common in older cats, while a group of diseases known as immune-mediated polyarthritis can affect dogs, and be challenging to diagnose and treat. Any new or improved way to help manage these conditions in human patients therefore also has the potential to advance veterinary medicine, ultimately improving the lives of companion animals too.
Welcoming the new grants, Humanimal Trust Chair of Trustees, Professor Roberto La Ragione, said:
“Humanimal Trust is delighted to support these important research studies. Our goal as a charity is to drive collaboration between vets, doctors and researchers so that all humans and animals benefit from sustainable and equal medical progress, but not at the expense of an animal’s life. Both of these studies have the potential to achieve this and we welcome the opportunity to support them through collaboration with Action Medical Research.”
Humanimal Trust plans to announce a series of new educational and seed-funding award programmes later in the year.