Impact: Economic, public policy and animal health and welfare:
Selective breeding based upon identification of PRNP genotypes can
eliminate animals that are susceptible to scrapie from the flock.
Significance: UK sheep meat exports are worth >£380million.
Breeding for scrapie resistance protected the sheep industry from similar
damage to that inflicted by BSE on cattle and the UK economy.
Beneficiaries: Farmers, animals, consumers
Attribution: Professor Hunter and Dr. Goldmann (Roslin Institute,
now part of UoE) identified polymorphisms of the PrP (PRNP) gene
linked to scrapie susceptibility and resistance in sheep.
Reach: International, programmes breeding for resistance to
scrapie in sheep are now used in the UK, Europe and USA.
Recent outbreaks across Europe of Bluetongue, a viral disease
particularly affecting sheep, have driven research at LSHTM by Professor
Polly Roy and her team, resulting in the Bluetongue virus (BTV) becoming
one of the best understood viruses at the structural and molecular levels.
The research has ultimately enabled the creation of several promising new
vaccines. In addition the Roy group has contributed towards exploiting
virus-like particles (VLPs) as a method to produce safe vaccines against
human and animal viral pathogen. The most advanced example is a BTV
vaccine for livestock, which is manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim (BI).
Impact: Health and welfare; policy in the form of national and
international guidelines; diagnostic service; engagement with patient
Significance: UoE-formulated diagnostic criteria adopted by the
World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Centre for Disease
Prevention and Control (ECDC) and US Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), enable reliable case ascertainment and longitudinal
study of disease trends. The UoE Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease Unit acts as an
international reference centre for diagnosis. Case ascertainment has
Beneficiaries: Patients with prion disease and their families,
policy-makers, the NHS, charities.
Attribution: The UoE CJD Unit led the work with international
Reach: Worldwide; diagnostic criteria are WHO-endorsed and have
been adopted worldwide. Pooling of data across Europe has enabled
assessment of 11,000 cases of sporadic CJD.
Interdisciplinary research at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has
provided core evidence on which global efforts are based in order to
eradicate one of the most economically damaging diseases of the cattle
industry. The research findings have helped steer national programmes to
eradicate Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) across Europe, South Asia and
Australasia, reducing economic losses. Professor Joe Brownlie has
additionally led pilot programmes in the UK, providing data for a national
scheme, campaigned widely to highlight the issue and secured farming
industry awareness and support through media exposure.
Research by a team at Southampton into amyloid beta protein (A03b2)
immunisation to treat Alzheimer's disease has been key to changing the way
the global medical community understands and reacts to the disease. The
first to observe that A03b2 immunisation clears A03b2 plaques, the team's
studies were pivotal in initiating and informing the safe clinical trial
development of 40 immunotherapy agents; investments of $3bn by the
pharmaceutical industry; and 30 phase II and phase III studies. The
research shaped US government policy on new safety measures for clinical
trials and played a leading role in the doubling of UK funding to tackle
Research led by Dr Watson has demonstrated that chronic pancreatitis (CP)
is more common and
clinically significant in dogs than veterinary surgeons previously
recognised, with strong breed
predispositions. Prior to this work, the veterinary profession believed
that dogs had a single attack of
acute pancreatitis which did not result in the development of exocrine
pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)
and/or endocrine insufficiency (diabetes mellitus (DM)). The work by
Watson has shown the importance
of chronic disease and has altered the long term treatment of affected
dogs across the profession. It
has also prompted companies in the UK, Europe and the USA to increase
their focus on low-fat dietary
management, pancreatic enzyme supplementation and analgesia improving the
quality of life of
Impact: Economic, animal health and welfare: Genetic markers have
enabled selection of salmon
lines with improved virus resistance
Significance: UK salmon industry benefit estimated at ~£26
million/annum GVA following
identification of a genetic trait conferring resistance to an economically
devastating viral disease.
Beneficiaries: Salmon farming industry, consumers
Attribution: Work performed by Houston, Bishop, Woolliams and
Haley (Roslin Institute, now part
Reach: Aquaculture industry internationally, i.e. Europe and South
Research at LSHTM has been central to the introduction of the Hib vaccine
countries. School staff were involved in the 1990s Gambia Hib vaccine
trial, which demonstrated
the impact of Hib vaccine on pneumonia. Through their work on the
subsequent Hib Initiative, their
research was instrumental in speeding up evidence-based decision-making
for Hib vaccine
introduction in a number of countries, mainly in Asia and Africa. The
project has been an
outstanding success, with Hib vaccine now introduced into 71 of the 73
countries eligible for GAVI
Bristol University's School of Veterinary Sciences, a global leader in
feline medicine, was the first
UK centre to develop and commercially offer polymerase chain reaction
(PCR) and quantitative (q)
PCR assays to detect a range of feline infectious and genetic diseases.
Since 2008 there has been
a dramatic increase in the number of qPCR tests performed, with over
35,000 tests carried out
between 2008 and 2013. The results of genetic testing have informed
breeding programmes and
resulted in a reduced prevalence of genetic disorders such as polycystic
kidney disease (PKD).
The results of testing for infectious diseases have informed diagnosis and
and, together with the genetic testing, have contributed to significant
improvements in feline
health and welfare. This work has also generated commercial income
in excess of £1.7M, which
has been used to further research into feline infectious and genetic
Impact: Economic / animal health and welfare / environment:
Improved profitability and
sustainability of the UK dairy industry.
Significance: The use of the Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI)
increased the profitability of the
dairy sector by an estimated £634M in 2008-2013 and reduced the greenhouse
from the sector by an estimated 8.4%.
Beneficiaries: Dairy producers, breeding companies, general
public/environment, dairy cattle
welfare and health.
Attribution: Drs Wall, Mrode (SRUC), and Brotherstone (UoE),
Profs. Coffey, Simm, Stott,
Veerkamp, Oldham (SRUC), and Woolliams (UoE/Roslin)
Reach: UK dairy industry. Tools developed, such as the routine
recording of body condition
score, and using these data in national genetic evaluations, have been
internationally, including in major dairy genetics exporting countries
such as the USA, Canada,
the Netherlands and New Zealand.