A centre of excellence for research into bone conditions such as osteoporosis, bone cancer and brittle bone disease has opened at the University of Sheffield in the UK.

The Mellanby Bone Research Centre (MBRC) is named after the late Sir Edward Mellanby, who was appointed chair of Sheffield University’s pharmacology department in 1920.

It will draw on the university’s strong track record in basic, translational and clinical bone research, exemplified by its ranking by ISI Thompson as the number one organisation in the UK and among the top six worldwide for its research into osteoporosis.

The MBRC will pursue interdisciplinary bench-to-bedside research bringing together scientists from across the university’s facilities. The five key departments involved in creating the centre were the School of Medicine, the School of Health and Related Research, the School of Dentistry, the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Centre for Engineering and Materials Science.

The bone research centre will also develop the university’s links with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as positioning the MBRC to apply for externally funded centre status.

As lifespans get longer, musculoskeletal diseases are likely to affect an increasing proportion of the population, sharpening demand for effective treatments both in the UK and globally, the university noted.

The University of Sheffield is unique given the limited number of universities available worldwide in which clinical research covers skeletal diseases from childhood through to old age, it said.