Trust awards £270,000 in research grants
Seventeen teams of researchers in the Manchester Biomedical
Research Centre are embarking on a raft of exciting new projects
after receiving grants totalling £270,000 from the Trust.
The Chairman's Prize award went to Sorrell Burden for her
project to improve patient care by identifying and monitoring
hospital patients, especially elderly people, who may be at risk of
malnutrition. A second award went to Heather Iles-Smith's study of
how patients attending A&E with chest pain can be diagnosed and
treated most effectively. Each won a Chairman's Research Prize,
The Biomedical Research Centre is providing opportunities for
researchers to put forward ideas for projects which will provide
the initial data to enable the research teams to apply for major
external grant funding. This scheme has been run successfully in
previous years and researchers have been able to secure funding
from prestigious funders for example the Wellcome Trust and Medical
This year Trust research grants totalling £108,000 went to
project teams led by:
Susan Huson - diagnosis and treatment of
learning and behavioural problems in children with
neurofibromatosis type one (NF1). This is one of the commonest
inherited disorders, affecting one in three thousand people.
Patients have birth marks and go on to develop benign skin tumours
in their teens.
Luciano Nardo - comparing gene variations to
help individualise the ovarian stimulation drug treatments given to
women undergoing IVF treatment. The aim is to maximise the number
of eggs produced and likelihood of having a baby, while reducing
Declan de Freitas - analysing samples of kidney
tissue, plasma and urine from patients to find out whether giving a
drug called EPO at the time of a kidney transplant can reduce
damage caused by bloodflow being stopped and restarted during
Karen Cosgrove - developing a new simple
laboratory test to discover the most appropriate of two types of
surgery for newborn babies with a disease causing low blood sugar
levels (congenital hyperinsulinism in infancy). Currently, the test
involves a specialised scan which is only available in Germany.
Daniel Brison - analysing how human embryonic
stem cells grow and divide so that the process can be repeated in a
lab to create the billions of cells needed to replace damaged
tissues in the body. This type of therapy could be used, for
example, to treat diabetes by replacing pancreas cells which are
failing to produce insulin.
Clare O'Donnell - assessing the potential
benefits and long term effects of a new treatment - collagen
cross-linking - for keratoconus, a disease in which the cornea
weakens leading to eyesight problems.
Emma Barrow - developing a standard
pre-screening test to identify patients who may benefit most from
genetic analysis to find out if they have inherited a gene that can
cause colorectal cancer.
Ian Hampson - evaluating possible indicators to
show which cornepatients with a condition causing benign growths in
the voice-box and windpipe would benefit from a drug called
Cidofovir, and the potential long term safety of the treatment.
A new funding programme, the Trust Research for Patient Benefit
scheme, was introduced this year and attracted 22 applicants. This
programme is designed to give pump-priming money to research
studies which may eventually qualify for national funding, and also
to support smaller projects that will directly benefit patients
within the Trust but are too small to apply for national
The seven award winners who shared £142,000 were:
Jacqueline Thompson - investigating the role of
advanced nurse practitioners in caring for acutely ill patients,
and the impact on length of stay, survival rates and patient
Olu Bamgbade - monitoring overweight patients
with gynaecological cancer before they have surgery to see if they
have problems with inadequate breathing while they sleep. This will
improve patient safety, reducing the risk of complications and the
length of stay in hospital.
Nicholas Webb - investigating whether saliva
tests can replace blood tests as a way of checking that children
who have had kidney transplants are receiving the right levels of
drugs to prevent rejection of the kidney.
Dougal Atkinson - assessing whether patients
treated in intensive care would benefit from a physiotherapy-lead
rehabilitation programme to improve their fitness, physical and
Edmond Edi-Osagie - developing a method to
predict whether women with a threatened miscarriage in the first
three months of pregnancy will actually continue the pregnancy and
give birth, or have a complete miscarriage.
Anthony Smith - comparing two surgical
techniques for treating women with stress incontinence by inserting
tension free vaginal tape (TVT).
Leroy Edozien - identifying and promoting ways
for fathers to have greater involvement in supporting their
partners through pregnancy, childbirth and the ongoing care of the
"Congratulations to all the award winners, who demonstrate the
tremendous diversity and innovation of the research work going on
across the Trust," said Prof Phil Baker, director of the Biomedical
Research Centre. "Whether in the short or longer term, all these
research projects are set to make a real difference to the way we
diagnose, treat and care for patients."