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Urogynecology researchers from across the North of England meet for the first time to inspire future partnership work

researchOver 20 Consultants in Urogynecology from across the Northern Powerhouse came together on 5 February to share best practice, explore opportunities for joint working partnerships and to collaborate to apply for funding for this poorly resourced and neglected area of Women's Health.

The inaugural 53° North Pelvic Floor Research Network took place at Citylabs in Manchester.

The aptly named group comes from the circle of latitude that is 53 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane and cuts across the country between north and south; roughly the area between Liverpool to Hull, and Stoke to Harrogate; with Manchester sitting fairly central. This group was established by Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's (CMFT) Dr Fiona Reid.

During the day Professor Linda Brubaker from the Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (Urogynecology) at Loyola University, Chicago joined the meeting via web conference. Professor Brubaker has been a principal investigator in multiple clinical research networks since 2001.  She gave her top tips on setting up an effective system to design, conduct and disseminate high-quality urogynecological research and to explore opportunities for joint research initiatives across partner agencies.

The meeting was sponsored by Specialty European Pharma (SEP), the company behind Bulkamid, a treatment of female urinary incontinence. SEP is also working with the network to provide funding for their initial CRN portfolio multi centre observational study.

Urogynaecology has only been recognised as a clinical specialty for the last 30 years, and for this reason, the research base to support innovation in the way we treat women with problems such as urinary incontinence or prolapse is in its infancy. The Warrell Unit was one of the first formally established departments of urogynaecology in the UK and now is one of the largest in the country. The establishment of the 53° North Pelvic Floor Research Network will strengthen links between researchers and build the foundation of future exciting partnership initiatives to see research into urogynecology which will develop and expand further.

CMFT has a large Urogynaecology research team with principle investigators Dr Fiona Reid, Dr Karen Ward, Dr Rohna Kearney and Professor Anthony Smith . The team has strong links with The Centre for Healthcare Randomised Trials (CHaRT) in Aberdeen and Scottish Pelvic Floor Network.

Current research interests of the team include:

•              The effects of child birth on sensory innovation of the pelvis

•              The surgical management of prolapse

•              The physiological testing pelvic floor function

In the past they have been successful in securing MRC funding for surgical trails. Charlotte Mahoney a research fellow in the Warrell Unit was recently awarded an NIHR Fellowships to complete her doctorate on the impact of child birth on pelvic floor sensory nerve supply.

Urogynaecology is one branch of the larger department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. To find out more about CMFT's gynaecology research portfolio including gynaecological cancer, fertility, pregnancy disorders and uro-gynaecology, visit/click here.