Recent Projects

Quote from Chris Day

(VC of Newcastle University)

The JGW Patterson has made a very substantial contribution to Newcastle University. Since 2001 they have been the 15th largest single funder of grant awards to Newcastle University and the 7th largest of our charity funders. The value of the long-term funding, despite several economic recessions, has benefitted us in many ways. Many of their awards have been to our early career researchers, often supported by more experienced investigators. This has underpinned our strategy of recruiting outstanding Newcastle University Research Fellows (NURFs) and Faculty Fellows and several of these have gone on to receive further funding having built up their track records on the outcomes of their JGW Patterson-funded research (we could name David Llobet-Navas and Ruth Rodriguez here if you wanted to). In retrospect, I am sure, that JGW Patterson funding will have proved pivotal in their long-term careers. When funding for a lectureship (now Professor) and the currently funded PhD studentships are also taken into consideration the role of the JGW Patterson Foundation in individual careers and for capacity building at Newcastle have been crucial as well as the benefits that accrue to the public, patients and the economy from their research findings.

Chris Day – VC of Newcastle University

Newcastle is particularly proud of the many external awards it has received for infrastructure funding and there can be little doubt that the underpinning awards from the JGW Patterson will have played their part in our gaining the large Centres and Programme Awards such as for musculoskeletal research: the jointly MRC and ARUK-funded Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA) with Liverpool and Sheffield Universities and for our Northern Institute for Cancer Research (NICR) being awarded Cancer Centre status from CRUK and also one of the CRUK and Health Departments Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres and LLR/Bloodwise programme grant funding for our world-leading Leukaemia Research Group.

Newcastle University, working in close partnership with Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust is known for its translational research and again several of our investigators obtaining MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme or NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) funding or other translational research funding streams have done so after receiving feasibility funding from the JGW Patterson Foundation.

"We are very fortunate in the UK to have such a strong charity structure and we are particularly blessed in the North East to work with the JGW Patterson Foundation"

Marie Curie – examples of grants given to Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle

A hospice has received grants totalling more than £120,000 from a regional charitable foundation, to allow it to upgrade its facilities for the benefit of people living with terminal illnesses from across the North East.

The Marie Curie Hospice Newcastle has received six major donations from The JGW Patterson Foundation in the past eight years, which have allowed the hospice to update a number of areas of the building.

The most recent donation of £26,840 from the Foundation – which was founded in 2002 – has enabled the hospice to update many essential pieces of kitchen equipment.

Previous donations have enabled upgrades to areas of the hospice – the region’s only Marie Curie facility, which offers in-patient and day therapy services to people living with any terminal illness, including cancer, across the North East – including its Education Centre.

The JGW Patterson Foundation was established by the late philanthropist John George William Patterson, from Jesmond, Newcastle, who bequeathed his entire portfolio of commercial and residential properties to the Foundation.

The main objectives of the Foundation are to fund research into, and purchase equipment and caring services for, the relief of cancer, arthritis and rheumatology. It makes grants extensively to the Universities, hospices and charities across the region.

The board of Trustees is made up of some of the most prominent professionals in the city – nationally-renowned paediatrician Professor Sir Alan Craft; Professor Tim Cawston, former Dean of Research at Newcastle University; Stephen Gilroy, retired Partner with Lambert Smith Hampton; David Gold, Partner with Joseph Miller & Co; and Jim Dias, retired Chairman of Sintons LLP. All of the professional services firms represented on the board were trusted advisors used by Mr Patterson during his life.

Pippa Aitken, Company Secretary of the JGW Patterson Foundation and Senior Associate at Sintons LLP, said: “It was the wish of Mr Patterson that the ongoing income from his property portfolio would be used for the benefit of his home city, namely to fund life-changing medical research and to support hospices and other medical institutions which provide vital care for people.

“To make such an ongoing impact is an incredible legacy, and it gives myself and the Trustees great joy to be able to make grants on behalf of the JGW Patterson Foundation which we know will do such good.

“We are delighted to have been able to support the Marie Curie Hospice Newcastle over the years, and have seen for ourselves the difference the grants have made for the benefit of patients and their families.”

Helen Forrow, Hospice Manager at Marie Curie, said: “When you are living with a terminal illness you want to make the most of the time you have left. Quite often, it can be the little things that mean the most to people – like fish and chips on a Friday. And thanks to the recent renovations to our kitchen that were funded by the JGW Patterson Foundation’s contribution, this is something we are able to offer and it’s a huge hit with patients and their families.

“Being able to bring a sense of normality to people when they are facing such difficult times is a big part of what we try to do at the hospice. And we simply couldn’t do it without the generosity of our supporters and partners like the JGW Patterson Foundation.”

St. Cuthbert's Hospice

St. Cuthberts Hospice, Durham, reclining chairs purchased by JGW Patterson Foundation

Effects of B-cell depletion on bone turnover in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is associated not only with joint damage, but generalised bone loss which ultimately can result in osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures. This bone loss is driven by a variety of factors, including loss of mobility and inflammation which activate bone cells to break down (resorption) more bone than they form. There is also growing evidence that there is close interaction between immune cells and bone cells. Many immune cells produce molecules which stimulate both the inflammation underlying rheumatoid arthritis and bone breakdown. One such cell is a white cell known as the B-cell. Recently, a new and successful treatment for rheumatoid arthritis called Rituximab has been developed which destroys B-cells.

The Foundation funded a recent study to see if the removal of B-cells would also improve bone quality which was led by Roger Francis and Stephen Tuck. Preliminary evidence was sought by measuring markers of bone cell activity using stored blood from a previous study of 46 patients who had been given Rituximab every 6 months. Bone cell activity could be measured in blood prior to being given Rituximab and the effects 6 and 12 months after starting Rituximab. We found that B-cell depletion by Rituximab increased bone formation and decreased bone resorption. This suggests that there may be an improvement in bone density over time, which could help to prevent osteoporosis and fractures. The study has just been published in Osteoporosis International (Osteoporosis Int. 2011; 22:3067-3072). The success of this study has enabled us to obtain a further £150,000 in funding from the Pharmaceutical Company Roche to undertake a prospective study to measure bone density and confirm these findings.

Dr David Young

The first grant awarded by the JGWP Foundation allowed us to recruit a new member of academic staff, Dr David Young, to the Musculoskeletal Research Group in Newcastle University. His brief was to develop a new research laboratory that focused on osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disabling joint disease predominantly affecting older people. The cartilage, which allows pain free movement of the joints, becomes degraded leading to pain and disability for patients. The cartilage tissue is produced by cells called chondrocytes. If the removal of cartilage components by these cells exceeds the building up of new cartilage, then the tissue will be gradually destroyed. This is what happens in OA cartilage.

This early JGWP grant has allowed David Young to establish a research group of 9 researchers that aims to understand the cellular processes occurring in OA. He is a co applicant on a prestigious Arthritis Research-UK programme grant for £1.1 million that aims to understand how new factors called microRNAs control the behaviour of chondrocytes and contribute to the cartilage destruction seen in osteoarthritis and therefore provide potential new treatments for this disabling disease. The Newcastle component of this 5 year award plays to one of our main strengths in the North East, access to human tissue, kindly donated by patients at joint replacement surgery. Using this and human stem cells we’re developing models of cartilage in the laboratory. We then use these models to determine what microRNAs are important when cartilage breaks down, as in diseases like OA. Along with this we want to know what microRNAs are important for cartilage to form in the first instance and so allow us to “engineer” cartilage in the lab to be used to replace damaged cartilage in a patient.

Drug Discovery and Imaging Group

One of the important aims of the work undertaken by both Dr Williamson and Dr Heer is the identification of new targets for anti-cancer drug development. One of the strengths of the Northern Institute of Cancer Research at Newcastle University is the capacity to link these kinds of findings to an in-house team of medicinal chemists. Headed by Professors Roger Griffin and Herbie Newell, the Drug Discovery and Imaging Group has had a number of notable successes in developing very effective anti-cancer drugs.

Funding from the JGW Patterson Foundation is being used to support PhD students in the group such as Andrew Shouksmith who is designing drugs to inhibit the SKP2 protein – a molecule which interferes with the normal breaks in place to control cell division. In some forms of cancer the levels of this protein are abnormally high leading to rapid tumour growth. As well as producing important information in its own right, support for PhD students such as Andrew is vital to ensure that talented young scientists join the work-force in the future.

Dr Rakesh Heer

Another example of the way in which support from the Foundation has been used to generate new data. Dr Rakesh Heer, an academic urological surgeon based at the NICR, has collected samples from bladder cancers to generate a tissue micro array containing 400 clinical cases. This will enable him to compare tumours for the presence of microscopic features which will predict how well an individual patient is likely to respond to drug treatment, surgery or treatment with X-rays.

He will link these findings to the results of highly sophisticated tests on the genetic code of the tumours and to a database of clinical information.

Dr Dan Williamson

In a project supported by the Foundation since 2010, Dr Dan Williamson has been looking at tumours arising in the brain using state-of-the art techniques which can examine the entire genetic code for the damage which can lead to cancer. Using this information he will be able to devise tests that can determine the best treatment, tailored for an individual child based on his or her tumour type. This will help to eliminate unnecessary damage to normal brain tissue-a particular problem in the developing brain.

The results produced by this project have enabled Dr Williamson, working with his colleagues Professor Clifford and Dr Bailey, to attract more than £1m pounds of additional funding from a national charity to continue their studies in this important area of research.

Contributon towards the purchase of stereoscopic microscope

The JGW Patterson Foundation has contributed to the purchase of several items of complex, and very expensive, specialist equipment including a sophisticated stereoscopic microscope fitted with minute tools for the dissection of tissues. Using this equipment Professor Debbie Tweddle and her research team are using stem cells to model the normal development of the sympathetic nervous system which gives rise to a form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma which, when advanced, can be very difficult to treat. Detailed knowledge of how and why neuroblastomas arise will enable her to suggest new forms of treatment.

Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care

Daft as a Brush provide a free transfer service to and from the Freeman/RVI Hospitals for outpatient undergoing chemotherapy and /or radiotherapy treatment. The JGW Patterson foundation have purchased two ambulances for them which they have named Speedy Squirrel and Busee Bee.

St. Oswald's Hospice

‘Thank you all, once again, for your kindness and support. Improving our kitchen facilities and nutritional expertise will make a very positive difference to all patients who use St Oswald’s services. This work would not be possible without your assistance.’

Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care

Daft as a Brush provide a free transfer service to and from the Freeman/RVI Hospitals for outpatient undergoing chemotherapy and /or radiotherapy treatment. The JGW Patterson foundation have purchased two ambulances for them which they have named Speedy Squirrel and Busee Bee.

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St. Oswald's Hospice

‘Thank you all, once again, for your kindness and support. Improving our kitchen facilities and nutritional expertise will make a very positive difference to all patients who use St Oswald’s services. This work would not be possible without your assistance.’

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Quote from Chris Day

(VC of Newcastle University)

The JGW Patterson has made a very substantial contribution to Newcastle University. Since 2001 they have been the 15th largest single funder of grant awards to Newcastle University and the 7th largest of our charity funders. The value of the long-term funding, despite several economic recessions, has benefitted us in many ways. Many of their awards have been to our early career researchers, often supported by more experienced investigators. This has underpinned our strategy of recruiting outstanding Newcastle University Research Fellows (NURFs) and Faculty Fellows and several of these have gone on to receive further funding having built up their track records on the outcomes of their JGW Patterson-funded research (we could name David Llobet-Navas and Ruth Rodriguez here if you wanted to). In retrospect, I am sure, that JGW Patterson funding will have proved pivotal in their long-term careers. When funding for a lectureship (now Professor) and the currently funded PhD studentships are also taken into consideration the role of the JGW Patterson Foundation in individual careers and for capacity building at Newcastle have been crucial as well as the benefits that accrue to the public, patients and the economy from their research findings.

Chris Day – VC of Newcastle University

Newcastle is particularly proud of the many external awards it has received for infrastructure funding and there can be little doubt that the underpinning awards from the JGW Patterson will have played their part in our gaining the large Centres and Programme Awards such as for musculoskeletal research: the jointly MRC and ARUK-funded Centre for Integrated Research into Musculoskeletal Ageing (CIMA) with Liverpool and Sheffield Universities and for our Northern Institute for Cancer Research (NICR) being awarded Cancer Centre status from CRUK and also one of the CRUK and Health Departments Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres and LLR/Bloodwise programme grant funding for our world-leading Leukaemia Research Group.

Newcastle University, working in close partnership with Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust is known for its translational research and again several of our investigators obtaining MRC Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme or NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) funding or other translational research funding streams have done so after receiving feasibility funding from the JGW Patterson Foundation.

"We are very fortunate in the UK to have such a strong charity structure and we are particularly blessed in the North East to work with the JGW Patterson Foundation"

Back to the top

Marie Curie – examples of grants given to Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle

A hospice has received grants totalling more than £120,000 from a regional charitable foundation, to allow it to upgrade its facilities for the benefit of people living with terminal illnesses from across the North East.

The Marie Curie Hospice Newcastle has received six major donations from The JGW Patterson Foundation in the past eight years, which have allowed the hospice to update a number of areas of the building.

The most recent donation of £26,840 from the Foundation – which was founded in 2002 – has enabled the hospice to update many essential pieces of kitchen equipment.

Previous donations have enabled upgrades to areas of the hospice – the region’s only Marie Curie facility, which offers in-patient and day therapy services to people living with any terminal illness, including cancer, across the North East – including its Education Centre.

The JGW Patterson Foundation was established by the late philanthropist John George William Patterson, from Jesmond, Newcastle, who bequeathed his entire portfolio of commercial and residential properties to the Foundation.

The main objectives of the Foundation are to fund research into, and purchase equipment and caring services for, the relief of cancer, arthritis and rheumatology. It makes grants extensively to the Universities, hospices and charities across the region.

The board of Trustees is made up of some of the most prominent professionals in the city – nationally-renowned paediatrician Professor Sir Alan Craft; Professor Tim Cawston, former Dean of Research at Newcastle University; Stephen Gilroy, retired Partner with Lambert Smith Hampton; David Gold, Partner with Joseph Miller & Co; and Jim Dias, retired Chairman of Sintons LLP. All of the professional services firms represented on the board were trusted advisors used by Mr Patterson during his life.

Pippa Aitken, Company Secretary of the JGW Patterson Foundation and Senior Associate at Sintons LLP, said: “It was the wish of Mr Patterson that the ongoing income from his property portfolio would be used for the benefit of his home city, namely to fund life-changing medical research and to support hospices and other medical institutions which provide vital care for people.

“To make such an ongoing impact is an incredible legacy, and it gives myself and the Trustees great joy to be able to make grants on behalf of the JGW Patterson Foundation which we know will do such good.

“We are delighted to have been able to support the Marie Curie Hospice Newcastle over the years, and have seen for ourselves the difference the grants have made for the benefit of patients and their families.”

Helen Forrow, Hospice Manager at Marie Curie, said: “When you are living with a terminal illness you want to make the most of the time you have left. Quite often, it can be the little things that mean the most to people – like fish and chips on a Friday. And thanks to the recent renovations to our kitchen that were funded by the JGW Patterson Foundation’s contribution, this is something we are able to offer and it’s a huge hit with patients and their families.

“Being able to bring a sense of normality to people when they are facing such difficult times is a big part of what we try to do at the hospice. And we simply couldn’t do it without the generosity of our supporters and partners like the JGW Patterson Foundation.”

Back to the top

St. Cuthbert's Hospice

St. Cuthberts Hospice, Durham, reclining chairs purchased by JGW Patterson Foundation

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Effects of B-cell depletion on bone turnover in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is associated not only with joint damage, but generalised bone loss which ultimately can result in osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures. This bone loss is driven by a variety of factors, including loss of mobility and inflammation which activate bone cells to break down (resorption) more bone than they form. There is also growing evidence that there is close interaction between immune cells and bone cells. Many immune cells produce molecules which stimulate both the inflammation underlying rheumatoid arthritis and bone breakdown. One such cell is a white cell known as the B-cell. Recently, a new and successful treatment for rheumatoid arthritis called Rituximab has been developed which destroys B-cells.

The Foundation funded a recent study to see if the removal of B-cells would also improve bone quality which was led by Roger Francis and Stephen Tuck. Preliminary evidence was sought by measuring markers of bone cell activity using stored blood from a previous study of 46 patients who had been given Rituximab every 6 months. Bone cell activity could be measured in blood prior to being given Rituximab and the effects 6 and 12 months after starting Rituximab. We found that B-cell depletion by Rituximab increased bone formation and decreased bone resorption. This suggests that there may be an improvement in bone density over time, which could help to prevent osteoporosis and fractures. The study has just been published in Osteoporosis International (Osteoporosis Int. 2011; 22:3067-3072). The success of this study has enabled us to obtain a further £150,000 in funding from the Pharmaceutical Company Roche to undertake a prospective study to measure bone density and confirm these findings.

Back to the top

Dr David Young

The first grant awarded by the JGWP Foundation allowed us to recruit a new member of academic staff, Dr David Young, to the Musculoskeletal Research Group in Newcastle University. His brief was to develop a new research laboratory that focused on osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disabling joint disease predominantly affecting older people. The cartilage, which allows pain free movement of the joints, becomes degraded leading to pain and disability for patients. The cartilage tissue is produced by cells called chondrocytes. If the removal of cartilage components by these cells exceeds the building up of new cartilage, then the tissue will be gradually destroyed. This is what happens in OA cartilage.

This early JGWP grant has allowed David Young to establish a research group of 9 researchers that aims to understand the cellular processes occurring in OA. He is a co applicant on a prestigious Arthritis Research-UK programme grant for £1.1 million that aims to understand how new factors called microRNAs control the behaviour of chondrocytes and contribute to the cartilage destruction seen in osteoarthritis and therefore provide potential new treatments for this disabling disease. The Newcastle component of this 5 year award plays to one of our main strengths in the North East, access to human tissue, kindly donated by patients at joint replacement surgery. Using this and human stem cells we’re developing models of cartilage in the laboratory. We then use these models to determine what microRNAs are important when cartilage breaks down, as in diseases like OA. Along with this we want to know what microRNAs are important for cartilage to form in the first instance and so allow us to “engineer” cartilage in the lab to be used to replace damaged cartilage in a patient.

Back to the top

Drug Discovery and Imaging Group

One of the important aims of the work undertaken by both Dr Williamson and Dr Heer is the identification of new targets for anti-cancer drug development. One of the strengths of the Northern Institute of Cancer Research at Newcastle University is the capacity to link these kinds of findings to an in-house team of medicinal chemists. Headed by Professors Roger Griffin and Herbie Newell, the Drug Discovery and Imaging Group has had a number of notable successes in developing very effective anti-cancer drugs.

Funding from the JGW Patterson Foundation is being used to support PhD students in the group such as Andrew Shouksmith who is designing drugs to inhibit the SKP2 protein – a molecule which interferes with the normal breaks in place to control cell division. In some forms of cancer the levels of this protein are abnormally high leading to rapid tumour growth. As well as producing important information in its own right, support for PhD students such as Andrew is vital to ensure that talented young scientists join the work-force in the future.

Back to the top

Dr Rakesh Heer

Another example of the way in which support from the Foundation has been used to generate new data. Dr Rakesh Heer, an academic urological surgeon based at the NICR, has collected samples from bladder cancers to generate a tissue micro array containing 400 clinical cases. This will enable him to compare tumours for the presence of microscopic features which will predict how well an individual patient is likely to respond to drug treatment, surgery or treatment with X-rays.

He will link these findings to the results of highly sophisticated tests on the genetic code of the tumours and to a database of clinical information.

Back to the top

Dr Dan Williamson

In a project supported by the Foundation since 2010, Dr Dan Williamson has been looking at tumours arising in the brain using state-of-the art techniques which can examine the entire genetic code for the damage which can lead to cancer. Using this information he will be able to devise tests that can determine the best treatment, tailored for an individual child based on his or her tumour type. This will help to eliminate unnecessary damage to normal brain tissue-a particular problem in the developing brain.

The results produced by this project have enabled Dr Williamson, working with his colleagues Professor Clifford and Dr Bailey, to attract more than £1m pounds of additional funding from a national charity to continue their studies in this important area of research.

Back to the top

Contributon towards the purchase of stereoscopic microscope

The JGW Patterson Foundation has contributed to the purchase of several items of complex, and very expensive, specialist equipment including a sophisticated stereoscopic microscope fitted with minute tools for the dissection of tissues. Using this equipment Professor Debbie Tweddle and her research team are using stem cells to model the normal development of the sympathetic nervous system which gives rise to a form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma which, when advanced, can be very difficult to treat. Detailed knowledge of how and why neuroblastomas arise will enable her to suggest new forms of treatment.

Back to the top