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Milestone for future of burns research in Wales

20 Hydref 2007

Research holding the prospect of benefits to the 14,000 people a year in Britain who suffer serious burns has been boosted with support for the appointment of a Professor of Burn Injury Study.

The Healing Foundation UK Centre for Burns Research based at Cardiff University and Morriston Hospital, Swansea has received £1 million from a UK awarding body associated with hairdressing and beauty therapy. This is the first donation of its kind by the Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT), and the largest single contribution to the pioneering research programme.

The VTCT - a Government approved awarding body offering National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) in the areas of Beauty Therapy, Hairdressing, Holistic & Complementary Therapies and Sports & Fitness - is supporting the appointment of the VTCT Professor of Burn Injury Study at the Healing Foundation UK Centre for Burns Research.

Professor Nick Topley, School of Medicine’s Department of Nephrology said: "This gift marks a major milestone for the future of burns research. It will support the VTCT Professor of Burn Injury Study for a minimum of 10 years, during which time I have no doubt that significant advances will be made in our understanding of major burn injuries."

The Healing Foundation, a national charity funding medical research in the area of disfigurement, is establishing the Centre in partnership with Cardiff University, the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, and Swansea University. It is the first major academic research Centre of its kind in the country.

The Professor, to be appointed later this year following an international search and selection process, will research the body’s immunological response to burns to better understand how the life-threatening inflammation and infection problems that follow major burns can be overcome.

Peter Wren, Chief Executive of the VTCT, said: "We are delighted to be supporting the appointment of the VTCT Professor and to be among the first to contribute to this major research initiative. Our work, and the careers of those we help to train in beauty therapy, is closely associated with appearance and beauty; about looking and feeling good. It seems only right to put something back. The area of disfigurement, and burns especially, is such an important, urgent and compelling cause."

Former steelworker Wayne Barnes, who survived severe burns in the Corus Port Talbot Steelworks explosion of 2001 said: "It’s wonderful that this money is going to help improve treatments for people like me in the future. The work supported by the VTCT and the Healing Foundation, in Cardiff and Swansea, will make sure that the very best treatments are available for everyone in the future".