<![CDATA[Newsroom University of Manchester]]> /discover/news/ en Wed, 10 Jul 2024 11:00:50 +0200 Wed, 26 Jun 2024 12:03:07 +0200 <![CDATA[Newsroom University of Manchester]]> https://content.presspage.com/clients/150_1369.jpg /discover/news/ 144 Surprising link between ancient biology and restricted human hair growth found /discover/news/surprising-link-between-ancient-biology-and-restricted-human-hair-growth-found/ /discover/news/surprising-link-between-ancient-biology-and-restricted-human-hair-growth-found/636712University of Manchester scientists have linked one of the ways  that cells respond to stressful conditions with restricted healthy hair growth.

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University of Manchester scientists have linked one of the ways  that cells respond to stressful conditions with restricted healthy hair growth.

The Manchester Hair Research Group team unexpectedly discovered the link in a lab experiment where they were testing a drug to see if it cultivates human scalp hair follicles in a dish.

The study inadvertently led to a link to the cellular stress response - an ancient biological mechanism which occurs across life from yeast and roundworms through to humans.

The team hope that by targeting the pathway, treatments for hair loss might one day be found.

Known in full as the Integrated Stress Response-  or ISR-  it is triggered in stressful cellular conditions such as poor nutrient availability, viral infection, or when there is a build-up of misshaped proteins in cells.

The ISR allows cells to put a brake on regular activities by making less new proteins, entering a partial stasis to adapt and deal with the stress. However, if it doesn’t work, it can cause cells to die.

ISR is already the subject of great interest to scientists studying cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and ageing.

The study is published in the peer-review open access journal PLOS ONE today (insert date).

 

Dr Talveen Purba, Research Fellow at Vlogٷ and senior author of the study said “We were testing a drug that targets metabolism in human hair follicles to influence how cells generate energy, which based on the work of others, we expected to stimulate stem cells.”

“However we found the opposite was true: hair growth was instead blocked, as cells, including stem cells, quickly stopped dividing.”

They also found signs that mitochondria, the power plants inside cells,  were dysfunctional, and there were disruptions in how cells communicate with each other.

Using a combination of experimental approaches to look more closely, they found signs that ISR activation was to blame.

Derek Pye, chief technician of the research group and co-author of the study said “When we look at hair follicles under the microscope, it’s striking how consistent the response is between hair follicles from different people.”

Following on from this early-stage research, the team are now looking to better understand the broader implications of the ISR in hair follicles, and look at its activity in people with hair loss conditions.

Dr Purba added: "We're incredibly hopeful as we believe the activation of this pathway could play an important biological role in restricting hair growth in people with hair loss conditions, meaning that targeting it could lead to new treatments”.

The research paper entitled “Activation of the integrated stress response in human hair follicles” is  available online in the journal PLOS ONE :

Image:    Side by side comparison of untreated (left) and stressed (right) hair follicles highlighting changes to mitochondrial distribution (red)

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Thu, 20 Jun 2024 19:00:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/2ed5bcd6-738a-488e-80b4-725e858129ee/500_main-full.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/2ed5bcd6-738a-488e-80b4-725e858129ee/main-full.jpg?10000
Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre opens /discover/news/cancer-research-uk-national-biomarker-centre-opens/ /discover/news/cancer-research-uk-national-biomarker-centre-opens/637078The Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre has opened in Manchester in the new Paterson Building, which was rebuilt , and is also home to the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute.

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The Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre has opened in Manchester in the new Paterson Building, which was rebuilt , and is also home to the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute.

The state-of-the-art facility has been made possible through fundraising, philanthropic donations, and partnership between Cancer Research UK, the University of Manchester and the Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

This new National Biomarker Centre will help experts detect cancer at an earlier stage – when there are usually more treatment options available. It will also help to provide clues on how aggressive a patient’s tumour is, predict which treatments are likely to work best and monitor responses to personalised treatment.

Cancer Research UK will invest £2.5m into the National Biomarker Centre each year as part of a £26m investment in Manchester – putting the city at the heart of its mission to beat cancer.

The Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre is a significant milestone in the mission to develop earlier and highly personalised treatments for cancer. It is fitting that this revolutionary approach will be based in Manchester, one of the world’s leading cities for cancer research.

Professor Graham Lord, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at Vlogٷ said: “The Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre is a significant milestone in our mission to develop earlier and highly personalised treatments for cancer. It is fitting that this revolutionary approach will be based in Manchester, one of the world’s leading cities for cancer research.

The news of the centre opening has been welcomed by three individuals from Greater Manchester, each of whom owes their life to the power of cancer research. They were invited to the centre for a special preview before the official opening today.

Asia, who lives in Manchester city centre, has recently been given the all-clear after being diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma last year.  

Last year was gruelling and I’m now delighted to be recovering and getting my life back on track. Being able to see direct the work which will help future patients is fascinating and inspiring,” said Asia.

Carolyn, from Whitefield, had just celebrated her 40th birthday and her youngest child was aged four when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery and also underwent chemotherapy at The Christie. 

“As a patient treated at The Christie who has gone on to support Cancer Research UK for many years, I am delighted to have a sneak preview of the work at the National Biomarker Centre and find out what the future of research holds,” said Carolyn.

Sharon, from Chadderton in Oldham, also welcomed the news. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36 after noticing a lump on her left breast. She underwent surgery followed by 12 weeks of chemotherapy treatment.  

“I am always humbled to hear about the amazing research work happening in Manchester,” said Sharon. “Having a look at the National Biomarker Centre before the official opening is so exciting.”

Now 60, she will celebrate a quarter of a century free of cancer next year.

Showcasing biomarker research in Manchester 

Another person who knows all too well the impact of cancer is Professor Caroline Dive, Director of the National Biomarker Centre. Her grandfather died from brain cancer before she was born. Her mother has undergone surgery on an endometrial tumour, and her father was treated for colon cancer. He passed away aged 95, following a further diagnosis of cancer.

“The impact biomarkers will have on patients’ care can’t be underestimated,” said Professor Dive.

“Doctors will be able to get more information, faster, to determine the best treatment plan for each individual. And it will stop some patients from undergoing unnecessary interventions or treatments that could cause pain or discomfort without providing benefit.

“We are learning how to manage cancer. And that will mean we can give patients longer with their loved ones and a good quality of life.”

The launch event today brings together key stakeholders, philanthropists, political leaders, key researchers and Cancer Research UK staff, including Michelle Mitchell, CRUK chief executive. The event will showcase the new research facilities and bring attention to growing biomarker research in Manchester and the UK.

“As a former student of Vlogٷ, I’m delighted that such an exciting and revolutionary facility will be housed in the city,” said Michelle Mitchell.  

“Research at the Cancer Research UK National Biomarker Centre will help to transform cancer treatment in the future.”

Detecting cancer earlier 

Cancer survival is three times higher on average if diagnosed early. That’s why the National Biomarker Centre’s work in early detection is a key priority for Cancer Research UK’s More Research, Less Cancer campaign.

Images:

  • Asia at the National Biomarker Centre
  • Carolyn at the National Biomarker Centre
  • Sharon at the National Biomarker Centre
  • Professor Caroline Dive speaking to visitors at the new National Biomarker Centre
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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 14:32:17 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/bd420727-c681-4be8-837a-d6c115a53d6b/500_asia-sharif-atthenationalbiomarkercentre.png?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/bd420727-c681-4be8-837a-d6c115a53d6b/asia-sharif-atthenationalbiomarkercentre.png?10000
Groundbreaking technology is first to allow patients to add daily symptoms to their health record /discover/news/groundbreaking-technology-is-first-to-allow-patients-to-add-daily-symptoms-to-their-health-record/ /discover/news/groundbreaking-technology-is-first-to-allow-patients-to-add-daily-symptoms-to-their-health-record/637009Researchers at Vlogٷ are to trial a system that allows people living with rheumatoid arthritis to send their daily symptoms securely to their health record, in a first for the NHS.

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Researchers at Vlogٷ are to trial a system that allows people living with rheumatoid arthritis to send their daily symptoms securely to their health record, in a first for the NHS.

 

The technology will help patients answer a painfully difficult question asked by doctors, plaguing them since time immemorial: “How have you been in the last six months?”

 

The trial is funded by the () and Versus Arthritis.

 

The Remote Monitoring of Rheumatoid Arthritis () system allows patients to download a symptom tracking app to their smartphone or tablet and sign in at home via NHS login.

 

The system could revolutionize the care of people living with a long-term conditions, who are often asked by doctors to describe their symptoms since they were last seen.

 

Professor Will Dixon from Vlogٷ is co-lead for the REMORA study and is a consultant rheumatologist at Salford Royal Hospital.

 

He said: “It can be difficult for patients to recall and describe the ups and downs of their health in a few minutes during a consultation.

 

“By tracking symptoms day-to-day and making them automatically available at consultations within the electronic medical record, we will generate a clearer picture of how someone has been in the last six months which could have a transformative impact on treatment and care.”

 

The research team are about to start the clinical trial which will test whether tracked symptoms, integrated into the NHS, leads to better outcomes compared to usual care.

 

The trial will allocate patients at random to symptom tracking or not, and will run in 16 hospitals across Greater Manchester and North West London during 2024-25 with the results expected in 2026.

 

If successful, the team hope it will become a funded NHS service available for free to all patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and that it can be expanded to other long-term conditions.

 

Doctors and researchers agree that technology has big potential for improving healthcare, although strong evidence for its efficacy is often lacking.

 

This trial will test not only whether patients benefit from symptom tracking, but will also examine whether it is value for money, how to ensure certain patient groups are not ‘left behind’ because of the technology, how to get around the barriers for setting up this new technology in the NHS, and how the data generated can be re-used to support research as well as patients’ direct care.

 

The researchers will conduct interviews with patients, clinicians and other staff within the NHS to understand how to optimise symptom tracking in the future NHS

 

Areas they will consider include the views of older patients, those with dexterity problems, and those with lower digital access.

 

The study is also learning how best to allow patients to control who will have access to their data using an electronic consent system from home.

 

Prof Dixon added: “Smartphones and tablets provide a convenient way for patients to record their symptoms and health changes while living day-to-day with their long-term conditions.

 

“Real-time tracking from home allows patients and doctors to spot patterns that would otherwise have been missed or forgotten, like flares or gradual changes following treatment.”

Dr Sabine van der Veer, a senior lecturer in health informatics at the University of Manchester is the other co-lead for the study.

She said: “A major advantage of REMORA is that we have successfully sent patient’s data into the NHS.

“The data is available during a consultation, seen from within the electronic patient record that the clinician is already using to manage the patient’s care.

“Patient records have historically only included information entered by clinicians. We are changing this, by learning how patients can contribute information themselves and ultimately improve their long-term health.”

Karen Staniland, a patient with rheumatoid arthritis at Salford Royal, said: “It is very exciting to be involved in this research as one of the patient partners.

“I believe that REMORA could make a real difference to the patient consultation, as evidence provided directly from the patient will already be available to view in their medical record.

“It could also allow time for patients to plan future care with their health care professional and definitely help improve their quality of life.”  

More information about the REMORA study, including a short video, can be found here: and    here:  

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 09:30:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/e01b2bbc-0e98-4a34-bb4f-b028081ef0ef/500_remorapic.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/e01b2bbc-0e98-4a34-bb4f-b028081ef0ef/remorapic.jpg?10000
Psoriasis Probe shows high level of arthritis symptoms in patients /discover/news/psoriasis-probe-shows-high-level-of-arthritis-symptoms-in-patients/ /discover/news/psoriasis-probe-shows-high-level-of-arthritis-symptoms-in-patients/636722Early results of an international study examining the risk of arthritis for people with psoriasis have shown a high burden of joint symptoms in 712 patients – 25% of the total studied so far.

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Early results of an international study examining the risk of arthritis for people with psoriasis have shown a high burden of joint symptoms in 712 patients – 25% of the total studied so far.

The study led by researchers at the Universities of Oxford, University College Dublin and supported by Vlogٷ has recruited almost 3,000 patients so far.

But the team are still on the hunt for 2,000 more patients with psoriasis, a condition that causes flaky patches of skin covered with white scales which affects about 3% of people in the UK and Europe.

The 25% figure results confirms existing knowledge that up to a third will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis (PsA), which causes joints and tendons to become inflamed and painful.

Professor Laura Cotes, Associate Professor at the  University of Oxford, is leading the project.

She said: “At the moment there is no way to predict which patients with psoriasis are likely to go on to develop joint problems.

“This research  will help us to design ways to prevent people with psoriasis developing arthritis, by offering potential drug treatments or lifestyle interventions such as exercise or stress management.”

Called the Prospective Observational Study (HPOS), the online study monitors people with psoriasis over a three-year period to see who develops PsA.

Participants fill in questionnaires online and send small fingerprick blood samples by prepaid post.

After launching in the UK in July 2023 the study opened for recruitment in Ireland in August 2023 followed by Greece in February 2024 and Portugal in April 2024.

The study team in Oxford are working to open HPOS in a further 12 European countries with the ultimate goal to recruit 25,000 people with psoriasis.

Professor Cotes added: “This week on 19 and 20 June, researchers from across Europe will be meeting in Manchester to discuss the progress in the study so far.

“To date, we have baseline data on a total of 2,841 patients, of which 1761 are from Ireland and 1067 are from the UK.”

Professor Ann Barton from Vlogٷ will be leading on analysis of genetic samples collected in the study.

She said: “We know that some patients with psoriasis will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis. If we could identify which patients are at higher risk for arthritis development, it could mean that in the future, those people could receive preventative treatment.

“Manchester is leading the work to identify genetic changes that could be used to predict which patients with psoriasis might be at increased risk of developing psoriatic arthritis. The HPOS study will allow us to collect samples from patients with psoriasis to help drive forward this work.”

Russ Cowper, who lives in Manchester and has lived with PsA for many years said: "Psoriatic Arthritis is so hard to diagnose it can lead to real confusion for patients, they know something is not right but cannot explain it.

“GPs are not always skilled enough to spot the symptoms and they may manifest themselves in a myriad of different ways. Receiving a diagnosis is in many ways a relief, patients can then plan for the future knowing that they do indeed have an ongoing condition 

"PsA can be debilitating, with me it is also quite random. I can be quite well for days and then all of a sudden I cannot get out of bed and I'm wracked with painful joints.

“The only joints that have not been affected are my elbows, everywhere else I have suffered flares, even in my jaw.

“It is a miserable condition and it is very tiring, pain can cause lack of sleep and if hands are affected then it's a struggle to do day to day tasks. If really bad applying creams to treat the skin becomes difficult and you risk a psoriasis flare."

Patients wishing to take part in the research can find out more and apply at the HPOS study .

The study is part of a wider research called investigating psoriatic arthritis across Europe.

It is a large consortium of over 25 research groups across Europe, led by Professor Oliver FitzGerald in Dublin which aims to answer 4 key research questions around psoriasis diagnosis, prediction, response to therapies, and prognosis on who will get joint damage.

Professor FitzGerald, Consultant Rheumatologist at University College Dublin said: ‘People who have psoriasis have been involved in every aspect of HPOS including study design, promotion, self-recruitment and consent. Given that the results of this study will likely identify risk factors associated with progression of skin psoriasis to psoriatic arthritis we anticipate strong public engagement, paving the way for consideration of treatments to prevent psoriatic arthritis from developing.’

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 11:28:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/3eec0e9f-d454-4715-9e73-66c4d4669702/500_russcowper.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/3eec0e9f-d454-4715-9e73-66c4d4669702/russcowper.jpg?10000
Four Manchester Professors recognised in King’s Birthday Honours list /discover/news/three-manchester-professors-recognised-in-kings-birthday-honours-list/ /discover/news/three-manchester-professors-recognised-in-kings-birthday-honours-list/636619Four professors from Vlogٷ have been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours in recognition of their extraordinary contributions and service.

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Four professors from Vlogٷ have been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours in recognition of their extraordinary contributions and service.

has been awarded an OBE for his services to public health, to epidemiology and to adult social care, particularly during Covid-19, has been awarded an OBE for his for services to the advancement of the science of radiation protection, Professor Paul Klapper has been awarded an OBE for services to viral diagnostic testing, and Professor Paul Howarth has been awarded a CBE for his significant contribution and service to the nuclear industry and to UK research and development (R&D).

The list celebrates individuals who have had an immeasurable impact on the lives of people across the country - such as by creating innovative solutions or driving real change in public life.

Ian HallIan Hall is a Professor of Mathematical Epidemiology and Statistics at Vlogٷ. He is a long-standing member of SPI-M (the pandemic disease modelling advisory group) and played a critical role in the operations of this group during the swine flu and Covid-19 pandemics.

During the Covid-19 pandemic he was academic chair of the SAGE working group of Social Care and participated in the SAGE Environmental Modelling Group as well as attending SAGE itself. He was also involved in a number of research projects, including the national core study on transmission () and Project TRACK to understand and control the risks on public transport. He also helped analyse data from a new heat map, providing a national picture of the spread over time.

Since the pandemic, Professor Hall has continued working with UKHSA through an honorary contract, notably with Health Equity Division on vaccination strategies in prison and homeless settings.

His other research interests include the impact of diseases on vulnerable populations and the study of vector-borne infectious diseases and environmental infections, such as Legionnaires Disease.

Richard WakefordRichard Wakeford is an Honorary Professor in Epidemiology in the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH), having been Professor in Epidemiology at the Centre before retiring at the end of 2019. He specialises in the epidemiology of exposure to ionising radiation, particularly as related to radiological protection.

Professor Wakeford is a member of various committees, including the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation and the International Commission on Radiological Protection. He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) following the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, and for 25 years was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Radiological Protection.

Richard completed his PhD in high energy physics at the University of Liverpool in 1978 and worked for British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) for nearly 30 years. It was the many challenges faced at BNFL where he developed his skills in radiation epidemiology and radiological protection. He was privileged to work with Sir Richard Doll during this time. After taking early retirement from BNFL, Richard joined the University, initially through an association with Dalton Nuclear Institute and then joining COEH.

Paul KlapperPaul Klapper is Professor of Clinical Virology at Vlogٷ. He began his career in virology in 1976 working as a laboratory technician at Booth Hall Children’s Hospital. He completed his PhD while working at Manchester Royal Infirmary on the diagnosis of herpes simplex encephalitis - a topic he continued to work on for over 20 years and led to the development of a reliable molecular diagnostic test for the condition. He also helped establish independent quality assurance testing in the infancy of viral molecular diagnostic testing. 

Throughout his career, Professor Klapper has been at the forefront of several key developments of viral diagnostic testing. Notably, he worked with the Greater Manchester Hepatitis C testing strategy, developing community-based testing methods to aid control of the HCV pandemic. In 1981, he became an NHS Clinical Scientist, working in both Manchester and Leeds as a Consultant Clinical Scientist. Ten years later, in 1991 became a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathology. 

On retiring from the NHS in 2012, Professor Klapper joined Vlogٷ as a Professor of Clinical Virology.  Early in 2020, he volunteered to help with establishment of large scale Covid-19 testing and became the clinical lead for the Alderley Park testing facility. He also served as a Clinical Advisor for testing with the Department of Health.

 Professor Klapper continues to conduct vital research in blood-borne virus infection and in congenital human cytomegalovirus infection.

Paul HowarthPaul Howarth is Professor of Nuclear Technology at Vlogٷ and Chief Executive of National Nuclear Laboratory. 

Professor Howarth has had a distinguished career working in and for the nuclear sector, building a reputation as one of the leading figures in the UK nuclear sector and around the global industry. After completing his degree in Physics and Astrophysics and PhD in Nuclear Physics, he started his career working on the European Fusion Programme. Early in his career he was awarded a prestigious Royal Society Fellowship to work in Japan on their nuclear programme. On returning to the UK he continued to work on nuclear fission leading the UK’s advanced reactor programme while working at British Nuclear Fuels, co-founding the at the University  and working closely with UK Government on building the case for new nuclear build.

Professor Howarth was appointed CEO for the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) in 2011 following its creation as a public corporation, having been instrumental in its establishment from British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL). During his tenure as CEO, NNL has been transformed into a successful business and a true national laboratory, delivering profits to reinvest into nuclear science and technology and critical support to nuclear organisations in the public and private sectors. 

The birthday honours are awarded by the King following recommendations by the prime minister, senior government ministers, or members of the public.

The awards recognise active community champions, innovative social entrepreneurs, pioneering scientists, passionate health workers and dedicated volunteers who have made significant achievements in public life or committed themselves to serving and helping Britain.

To see the full Birthday Honours List 2024, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-kings-birthday-honours-list-2024  

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 22:30:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/42d5591d-a418-47d7-83b5-b80a7f8986ff/500_untitleddesign6.png?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/42d5591d-a418-47d7-83b5-b80a7f8986ff/untitleddesign6.png?10000
Seven researchers secure funding through the flagship Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme to continue developing their commercial ideas /discover/news/seven-researchers-secure-funding-through-the-flagship-researcher-to-innovator-r2i-programme-to-continue-developing-their-commercial-ideas/ /discover/news/seven-researchers-secure-funding-through-the-flagship-researcher-to-innovator-r2i-programme-to-continue-developing-their-commercial-ideas/636927Twenty two early career researchers have now successfully completed Cohort 2 of the 2023-24 the Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme.

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Twenty two early career researchers have now successfully completed the Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme, an exciting entrepreneurship training programme for researchers with ambitions to develop commercial ventures and create impact from their academic studies.

The Options Roundabout event on the 12th June 2024 was the culmination of the R2I programme which saw our researchers pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs, funders and commercialisation experts. The event which was an opportunity for the cohort to network and celebrate their achievements was hosted in our MEC Enterprise Zone, a dedicated entrepreneurship space in the Alliance Manchester Business School. 

The R2I programme aims to inspire and accelerate the translation of the knowledge created through academic research into products, services or processes to deliver tangible benefit through a series of bespoke workshops and mentoring opportunities. The workshops helped researchers articulate their ideas by taking them through a lean start-up pathway to explore the commercial potential of their research.

The Innovation Enabling Awards were granted to acknowledge the impact and growth potential with early career researchers receiving between £2000 to £8000 to further develop the commercial potential of their ideas and businesses.

Aline Miller, Professor of Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Dean for Business Engagement and Innovation, presented the Innovation Enabling Awards to the seven winning projects.

 

Award Winners

MWjun24-670292-Awardees

 

Innovation Enabling Awards: £8,000

MWjun24-670337-Rosanna

Personalised phage therapy for bacteria infections 

Dr Rosanna Wright (School of Biological Sciences)

“The Researcher to Innovator programme has been an incredibly rewarding experience; the workshops, support and mentorship have helped me to understand the potential impact of my research and develop skills to better communicate with stakeholders. I am thrilled to receive an Innovation Prize which will accelerate our pathway to translation. Thank you R2I!”

 

MWjun24-670345-Josiah

UrbanWatt

Josiah Edebiri (School of Engineering)

"The Researcher to Innovator program has been a great experience; I enjoyed connecting with the other aspiring entrepreneurs and found the workshops hugely beneficial in developing my skillset to progress my enterprise moving forward."

 

Innovation Enabling Awards: £5,000

MWjun24-670364-Kane

Scrap Metal Separation

Dr Kane Williams (School of Engineering)

"R2I enabled me to make contacts in areas of my research that I would not have had otherwise. These contacts will allow me to develop my research further and branch out into new areas." 

 

 

MWjun24-670309-Taimoor

Gait Analysis System

Muhammad Taimoor Adil (School of Engineering)

“Participating in the Researcher to Innovator programme has been a transformative experience. The award validates my research's potential and provides essential support to turn it into an impactful solution. I'm grateful for the opportunity and excited to advance my deep-tech startup journey.”

Innovation Enabling Awards: £2,000

MWjun24-670314-Soheb

 

Breaking the barrier: A science-art hub

Dr Soheb Mandhai (School of Natural Sciences)

 “The R2I journey has opened my mind to new horizons and has equipped me with the foundational skills that I need to build my enterprise.”

 

 

MWjun24-670404-Matthew

Select Xpress

Matthew Reaney (School of Engineering)

“Having completed the program I can say our idea is in a better place and I feel I have skilled-up in terms of my communication of scientific ideas and willingness to reach out to potential collaborators.”

 

 

MWjun24-670380-Hongning

 

Colorolicous

Hongning Ren (School of Natural Sciences)

"I gained more appreciation of how to use my research to actually make a difference - sometimes it's better stepping out from lab to talk to real people, then you can solve some real problems."

 

 

The prize winners will also receive expert support and signposting to regional and national accelerator programmes and all the participants on the programme will have access to further support, mentoring and guidance from internal professional support teams, including the opportunity to build relationships with business engagement, Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.

 

 

The organisers wish to thank the  Fellowship for their sponsorship of the Innovation Enabling Awards.

logo_Engineers in Business

Get Involved

If you are an early career researcher looking for an exciting opportunity to develop your innovative thinking and enhance your understanding of creating and developing impact join the next round of the R2I programme. Find out more .

 

The Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme has been coordinated by the University’s Innovation Academy, which brings together knowledge, expertise and routes to facilitate the commercialisation of research. It is a joint venture between the Business Engagement Team, the  and the 

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The R2I programme not only encourages and supports researchers to consider the commercial potential of their research but also develops entrepreneurial mind-sets, commercial awareness, confidence, resilience and networking skills. The success of the researchers is testament to their dedication, hard work and commitment throughout the programme. Congratulations to everyone that participated in this cohort and I look forward to supporting you to develop your ideas further.]]> The R2I options roundabout ‘pitch’ day is always a highlight, and this cohort didn’t disappoint! The researchers were truly inspiring not only in showcasing their passion for their projects but also in seeing their progress in customer discovery and shaping their research into a commercial proposition over the 8 week R2I programme. I wish them all luck and look forward to seeing them, and their ventures, thrive moving forward.]]> Fri, 14 Jun 2024 10:01:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/63d90ab5-cc45-4434-a9e9-19feeaf07782/500_1920-researchertoinnovatorrgbcopy.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/63d90ab5-cc45-4434-a9e9-19feeaf07782/1920-researchertoinnovatorrgbcopy.jpg?10000
New analysis reveals 18 million people have hearing loss /discover/news/new-analysis-reveals-18-million-people-have-hearing-loss/ /discover/news/new-analysis-reveals-18-million-people-have-hearing-loss/635683A more holistic definition of hearing loss by Vlogٷ and University of Nottingham researchers has revealed that 18 million people are affected, 6 million higher than previously reported using a definition from the 1980s.

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A more holistic definition of hearing loss by Vlogٷ and University of Nottingham researchers has revealed that 18 million people are affected, 6 million higher than previously reported using a definition from the 1980s.

The new analysis, published in the , re-evaluated existing prevalence data to include people with hearing loss who were previously not taken into account by official statistics.

The study was based on new population estimates from the most recent censuses: the 2021 Scottish census and the 2022 England and Wales Census. Because of an increase in the UK population, this resulted in an increase to 4.6 million.

However, the new data shows if people with a milder degree of hearing loss in both ears are included, the estimate is 12.3 million, or 1 in 4 of the population aged 18-80.

The number is greater still—18 million or 1 in 3— if those with a hearing loss in only one ear are also included.

Co-author Professor Kevin Munro, National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator at Vlogٷ said: “These data more accurately reflect the number of adults in the UK who have impaired hearing that will cause listening difficulty, especially in background noise.

“Maintaining the hearing health of adults is a strong social responsibility. So it is important to acknowledge that millions of people’s experiences have effectively been dismissed by existing data which means they are effectively left out of the national conversation.”

Co-author NIHR Senior Investigator Professor Michael Akeroyd from the University of Nottingham said: “The way we define hearing loss puts us at odds with most other countries.

“By modernizing these numbers, we align with the latest international practice.  We hope it will encourage more people to realise how common hearing loss is.”

Hearing loss ranks third for Years Lived with Disability, first for sensory disorders, and first for those over age 70. That is why addressing hearing loss is an important component of healthy ageing, argue the researchers. 

Despite the revised estimate, the researchers stress a new study is required because there have been significant changes in factors that could affect the estimates.

These include potentially lower occupational hearing loss from reductions in heavy industry and greater population diversity since the 1980s on which these data are estimated. Some ethnic minorities at higher risk of hearing loss.

New studies could also determine if there is now greater hearing loss from recreational noise exposure.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England Professor Chis Whitty, in a 2023 report on healthy ageing reflected the call by the researchers for better data.

His report argued that available estimates of hearing impairment rely on outdated statistics from several decades ago and that sensory impairment is a major contributor to disability in older age.

It also argued that many components of the ageing process are significantly under-researched including hearing impairment.

Victoria Boelman, Director of Insight and Policy at RNID, said: “RNID welcomes this new insight as a step forward in our understanding of the UK’s community of people with hearing loss. The updated statistics now reflect and include the real-life experience of the 18 million people in the UK who have different and diverse experiences of deafness and hearing loss. By previously excluding people with milder hearing loss or hearing loss in a single ear, society had effectively dismissed millions of people’s experiences and not factored them into national conversations.

“We’re here for the 18 million people in the UK who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus. With our communities, we’ll change society to make it more inclusive for everyone, help people hear better now and fund world-class research. If you need support or information, visit rnid.org.uk.”

The paper “Population estimates of the number of adults in the UK with a hearing loss updated using 2021 and 2022 census data” is available at

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Mon, 10 Jun 2024 01:52:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_stock-photo-man-with-hearing-problem-on-grey-background-closeup-1009433224-2.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/stock-photo-man-with-hearing-problem-on-grey-background-closeup-1009433224-2.jpg?10000
No evidence sperm counts are dropping, researchers find /discover/news/no-evidence-sperm-counts-are-dropping-researchers-find/ /discover/news/no-evidence-sperm-counts-are-dropping-researchers-find/635133The widely held view that sperm counts in men are dropping around the world may be wrong, according to a new study by University of Manchester, Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada and Cryos International, Denmark.

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The widely held view that sperm counts in men are dropping around the world may be wrong, according to a new study by University of Manchester, Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada and Cryos International, Denmark.

 

Using data from 6,758 men from four cities in Denmark applying to be sperm donors at the world’s largest sperm bank, Cryos International, the study is published in the journal Human Reproduction today (05/06/24).

Declining sperm counts, identified by two recent and influential meta-analyses - combining and synthesizing the results of previous studies – have become widely publicized in the mainstream media.

 

In the new study, however, statistical analysis of sperm samples provided by the men applying to be sperm donors showed that while the average sperm concentration varied from year to year, it did not change significantly over a six-year period.

 

Although Cryos was established over 40 years ago, the researchers limited their analysis to data collected between 2017 and 2022 to ensure methodological consistency in the measurements of sperm concentration and motility – its ability to swim spontaneously.

Co-author Professor Allan Pacey from Vlogٷ said: “It is commonly believed by that sperm counts in men are falling.

 

“This is to some degree the result of meta-analysis published by Levine et al. (2023) which proposed that sperm concentrations worldwide had declined as much as 2.64% per year in unselected men since the year 2000.

 

“We did not see such a change and that suggests that in this population of sperm donor applicants, in these four Danish cities, sperm concentrations have not changed between 2017 and 2022”.

 

However, both the concentration and total numbers of motile (swimming) sperm provided for testing had declined by 16% and 22% respectively from 2019 to 2022.

Co-author Professor Robert Montgomerie said: “The decline in measures of sperm motility between 2019 and 2022 was an unexpected finding.

“This decline roughly corresponds to the onset of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

“While there is no evidence to suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is directly affecting sperm, we speculate whether the widespread lockdowns may have led to changes in working pattens, diet, and levels of physical activity which we already know can impact sperm motility.”

The study authors were not able to collect information on the health or lifestyles of the men applying to be sperm donors that could help to identify factors that may account for the decline in sperm motility.

However, they argue monitoring the semen quality in this population of sperm donor candidates could be a useful way to monitor changes in human semen quality over time and help answer the question whether sperm counts are declining or not.

Co-author Anne-Bine Skytte the Medical Director of Cryos International said: “Men who apply to be sperm donors are doing so in order to help women and couples achieve their family wishes.

“We have no way of knowing how random this sample is with respect to the general (Danish) population, but this study shows that another altruistic outcome of applying to be a sperm donor is how the data can now be used to help answer big science questions, like whether sperm counts are declining or not.

“This is an unexpected benefit of their generosity.”

The paper Recent decline in sperm motility among donor candidates at a sperm bank in Denmark is available here

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Wed, 05 Jun 2024 04:06:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_sperm-egg.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/sperm-egg.jpg?10000
University of Manchester heart research receives £8 million funding boost /discover/news/university-of-manchester-heart-research-receives-8-million-funding-boost/ /discover/news/university-of-manchester-heart-research-receives-8-million-funding-boost/632185The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has awarded £4 million to support world-class cardiovascular research at Vlogٷ over the next five years, the charity has announced today.

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The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has awarded £4 million to support world-class cardiovascular research at Vlogٷ over the next five years, the charity has announced today.

Vlogٷ has pledged to match the funding awarded by the BHF, taking the total investment in cardiovascular disease research at the University to £8 million.

Researchers at the University welcomed the announcement. Professor Bernard Keavney, BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Manchester, said: “This is a landmark moment for cardiovascular research in Greater Manchester. We’re thrilled that the progress we have made in our research at Vlogٷ in recent years has been recognised with this award, alongside other top-ranking institutions nationally.

“We will focus particularly on science that will meet the needs of those who suffer disproportionately from cardiovascular disease because they are disadvantaged – be that by socio-economic status, race or ethnicity, geography or genetics. We are determined that this award will lead to positive health changes for our local population in the North West – who suffer the worst rates of cardiovascular illness and death in England – as well as nationally and internationally.”

Prof Keavney , will lead the Centre of Excellence at the University, along with Professor Maciej Tomaszewski from the University of Manchester.

The funding will support the university to cultivate a world-class research environment that encourages collaboration, inclusion and innovation, and where visionary scientists can drive lifesaving breakthroughs.

The award from the BHF is part of a much needed £35 million boost to UK cardiovascular disease research from the British Heart Foundation. The funding comes from the charity’s highly competitive Research Excellence Awards funding scheme. The award to the University of Manchester will support researchers to:

  • Discover the reasons why some babies are born with heart problems (congenital heart disease) and find ways in which these problems could be better predicted, potentially avoided, and treated when they occur in families.
  • Better understand the genetic drivers of high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
  • Provide new insights into the causes and consequences of heart failure and identify new potential treatment strategies.
  • Uncover the links between inflammation and inflammatory diseases (such as certain types of arthritis) and the higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke these patients carry and find ways to break these links.
  • Use Artificial Intelligence on largescale datasets to identify how we can better identify and prevent disease in patients with cardiovascular diseases, including those suffering from other conditions such as cancer.

Professor Bryan Williams, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer at the British Heart Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to continue to support research at the University of Manchester addressing the biggest challenges in cardiovascular disease. This funding recognises the incredible research already happening at the university and will help to cement its status as a global leader in the field.

“With generous donations from our supporters, this funding will attract the brightest talent, power cutting-edge science, and unlock lifesaving discoveries that can turn the tide on the devastation caused by heart and circulatory diseases.”

Research Excellence Awards offer researchers greater flexibility than traditional research funding, allowing scientists to quickly launch ambitious projects that can act as a springboard for larger, transformative funding applications.

The funding also aims to break down the silos that have traditionally existed in research, encouraging collaboration between experts from diverse fields. From clinicians to data scientists, biologists to engineers, the funding will support universities to attract the brightest minds, nurture new talent and foster collaboration to answer the biggest questions in heart and circulatory disease research.

Vlogٷ received a £1 million Accelerator Award from the BHF in 2019 to enable the university to develop its cardiovascular research programme. This funding has supported research that will lay the foundations for future breakthroughs, including:

  • Development of a biodegradable gel that could help to . Researchers showed that the gel can be safely injected into the beating heart to act as a scaffold for cells to grow into new heart tissue. They hope that it could form a new generation of treatments to repair damage caused by a heart attack.
  • Identifying how high blood pressure causes the small arteries in the brain to become constricted, reducing the blood flow through them and increasing the risk of developing vascular dementia. The mechanism could be the target of new drugs to prevent vascular dementia.
  • Providing new biological insights into high blood pressure by studying the genes that influence differences in blood pressure in the kidney, the key organ controlling blood pressure. This work identified opportunities to repurpose drugs currently used for other conditions to better treat high blood pressure.

Its recent successful funding bid will now support the university to take the next steps towards internationally recognised excellence in cardiovascular disease research.

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Fri, 24 May 2024 04:29:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/17dec39e-b949-421d-999f-c0a30ac6f1a1/500_stock-photo-lab-research-479843851.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/17dec39e-b949-421d-999f-c0a30ac6f1a1/stock-photo-lab-research-479843851.jpg?10000
CreaTech 2024 Event Series Lookback /discover/news/createch-2024-event-series-lookback/ /discover/news/createch-2024-event-series-lookback/634477A lookback at Digital Futures, Creative Manchester and the Turing Innovation Catalyst (TIC) Manchester’s CreaTech 2024 events aimed at supporting the development of a network of industry professionals working in CreaTech and related industries.In March 2024 partnered with and for a ground-breaking series of events throughout, focused on bringing together people in Manchester working in CreaTech – shining a light on the potential for innovation that can be derived from intersections between the creative, technology and digital sectors. 

This series of events aimed to build a CreaTech network to provide support, funding and connections to help grow this sector. These events echoed the aspirations of the Greater Manchester city region to develop the CreaTech sector and to facilitate partnerships between the university and the wider GM Business Community.

We are pleased to announce that is now live, featuring photos and outputs of the breakout sessions. We are also pleased to have worked with to produce a suite of after movies showcasing People's experiences at the events and highlighting the importance of networking across the emerging CreaTech sector. Watch the full videos .

Our first event invited individuals interested and working in the gaming/animation/VR/AR industry within Greater Manchester to network with each other and collaborate. We asked them to uncover the overall theme of “How Do We Make Manchester Great?” within breakout groups. See what attendees had to say about CreaTech innovation and the importance of networking across the sector.

 

In our second event ‘Digital Artisans’ we bridged the gap between tradition and innovation through looking at how artisanal craft can harness Createch This event was held at a fitting setting to delve into how independent artists can come together to chart a path towards a future where tradition and innovation converge, propelling Manchester's artisan arts and crafts sector to new heights of success.

Our next event focused on CreaTech innovation in the Audio and Sound sector. Held in the entrepreneurial atmosphere of , the event brought together enthusiastic, experts, and visionaries from diverse backgrounds, all united by their passion for the intersection of creativity, technology, and sound. See what attendees had to say about the importance of CreaTech in the sound industry.
 

Our next event focused on the fast-paced world of ‘Creative AI’ and took place at . This event brought together creatives who have an interest in digital technology and AI. Furthering the CreaTech ethos, the event connected inspired individuals who wanted to understand how to stay at the front of technological change and how their work practice has adapted to the advances in accessible AI.

The final instalment in the CreaTech Network Series surrounded the theme of Fashion, taking place in the iconic in Ancoats. Bringing together professionals and enthusiasts in the Fashion scene around Manchester. We asked attendees about how they thought technology could change the landscape of the Fashion industry.

 

As our CreaTech Network events of March 2024 have drawn to a close, we reflect on the exciting potential all attendees have reflected through the CreaTech network and look forward to future collaborations. 

We have helped to pave the way for a strong network of Creatives in Greater Manchester ready to tackle the evolving CreaTech sector. We have also gained an understanding of the University of Manchester’s role in an increasingly digital and technology focused landscape.

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Mon, 20 May 2024 12:31:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/a714697c-92dc-417d-9955-e26f5e3fb0bc/500_ourfirstevent.png?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/a714697c-92dc-417d-9955-e26f5e3fb0bc/ourfirstevent.png?10000
Burmese and skin-themed garden to be unveiled in first for Chelsea /discover/news/burmese-and-skin-themed-garden-to-be-unveiled-in-first-for-chelsea/ /discover/news/burmese-and-skin-themed-garden-to-be-unveiled-in-first-for-chelsea/632084This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower show is to feature a garden themed around the story of a UK based charity helping healthcare workers in the country Burma, also known as Myanmar, to treat people with painful and debilitating skin conditions.

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This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower show is to feature a garden themed around the story of a UK based charity helping healthcare workers in the country Burma, also known as Myanmar, to treat people with painful and debilitating skin conditions.

In a first for the world-famous event held from Tues 21 to Sat 25 May 2024, Dermatologists and specialist nurses will be welcoming visitors to the Burma Skincare Initiative ‘Spirit of Partnership Garden’ during the week.

The charity, co-founded by Chris Griffiths OBE, emeritus professor at Vlogٷ, is an innovative global partnership providing research, education, and clinical services to dermatologists working in one of the world’s poorest health care systems.

Currently fewer than 50 dermatologists and three dermatology centres serve 55 million people in the impoverished country.

It is also the first time a Burmese garden has featured at Chelsea and in another first, it is a debut design by someone not in the profession.

The designer, the charity and the sponsors behind the first Burmese and skin-themed garden at the world’s most famous flower show say it’s a unique opportunity to put Burma and skin health in the spotlight.

Professor Griffiths said: “Skin disease has a major impact on a person’s quality of life and mental health and can impose severe limitations on their ability to work. In Myanmar, we met many people, including hundreds of children in orphanages, with skin diseases.

Their suffering and resilience motivated us to improve access to skincare in the country through partnerships between international and local dermatology communities and industry.”

Co-founder, Dr Su Lwin, a Burmese-born dermatology registrar and honorary lecturer at St John’s Institute of Dermatology and King’s College London, added: “My beautiful country faces many challenges. We are focussed on creating opportunities in education and research for our colleagues in Myanmar so that together, we may achieve our vision of equal access to quality skin care for its people. I am absolutely thrilled that through the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, we are able to put Myanmar and skin health on the world stage. This is also the first time a garden at Chelsea tells the story of skin disease, and the importance of partnership in its management, and we hope people love it.”

Garden designer Helen Olney, working with landscaper Conquest Creative Spaces, has juggled her day job, to create her Chelsea debut.

She said: “The garden is full of texture, including timber from a Thames jetty, crumbling red bricks and weathered stone with moss and lichen. Along with plants such as Acer davidii and Betula utilis (Himalayan birch), they represent skin disease.

All the plants are found in Burma and grow happily in the UK and many have value for wildlife. The planting is naturalistic in a palette of greens, lilacs, yellows and whites. The diversity of Myanmar is shown through different planting zones and features. That includes the part-ruined ‘stupa’, a spiritual structure found across Myanmar, which symbolise the challenging environments in which the BSI work.

A stilt house, above a water lily pool, indicates the sanctuary the charity provides. Seating is inspired by a letter in the Burmese alphabet meaning ‘coming together’. This is how this garden came about, and how the charity works,” added Helen.

For more information about the BSI visit the website

Images:

  • L-R Prof Chris Griffiths OBE, RHS's Esta Morris and Doctor Su Lwin on the plot where the show garden will appear in May.
  • The BSI garden uses education research and clinical care to support Burmese health Credit The3DGardener
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Fri, 17 May 2024 11:32:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/f248930b-6c97-43e1-9401-fcad5639d8eb/500_thebsigardenuseseducationresearchandclinicalcaretosupportburmesehealthcreditthe3dgardener.jpeg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/f248930b-6c97-43e1-9401-fcad5639d8eb/thebsigardenuseseducationresearchandclinicalcaretosupportburmesehealthcreditthe3dgardener.jpeg?10000
Dr Cathryn Rodway bags Research Excellence Award /discover/news/dr-cathryn-rodway-bags-research-excellence-award/ /discover/news/dr-cathryn-rodway-bags-research-excellence-award/631959 Dr Cathryn Rodway from Vlogٷ has been given the Research Excellence Award at the Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre Conference 2024 for her work on a research project exploring suicidality in the UK Veteran community. 

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 Dr Cathryn Rodway from Vlogٷ has been given the Research Excellence Award at the Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre Conference 2024 for her work on a research project exploring suicidality in the UK Veteran community. 

 Jim Macleod CB CVO, Chair of the Forces in Mind Trust Board, presented the award at this year's conference last week. The award was accepted on Dr Rodway’s behalf by co-author, Dr Jodie Westhead.

The Research Excellence award recognises an individual who has produced a piece of high quality and innovative research involving UK ex-Service personnel over the last year.

Dr Cathryn Rodway said “I am absolutely delighted that our work examining suicide risk in former personnel of the UK Armed Forces has been recognised in this way. This is an important study adding to our understanding of the causes and rates of suicide in veterans”.

Ruth Harris, Co-Director of the FiMT Research Centre said “Dr Rodway’s high-quality work has made a valuable contribution to understanding suicidality in the UK Veteran population, and how practice and policy can be adapted to support UK Veterans mental health. We are pleased to have presented her with this award in recognition of her work”.

Dr Cathryn Rodway is a Programme Manager at the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) and a Research Associate at the University of Manchester. She is receiving the 2024 Research Excellence award for her work on the study ‘Suicide after leaving the Armed Forces 1996 -2018: a cohort study’. This project examined the rates and causes of suicide in UK ex-Service personnel in comparison to the general population, looking at data for 458,000 Veterans over a 23-year period.

The project demonstrated robust methodology, high-quality research and was of particular importance as it provides much-needed insight into suicide within the UK Veteran community. To date, there have been few studies examining suicide in Veterans. This study found that while UK Veterans as a whole show no higher risk of suicide compared to the general population, UK Veterans under the age of 25 face 2 to 4 times increased risk. Additionally, despite there being a range of UK support services available for Veterans experiencing poor mental health, the study highlights that Veterans, particularly those who are younger, may be less likely to seek help.

In response to these findings, Dr Rodway and her colleagues also proposed policy and practice suggestions aiming to improve and maintain access to mental health care for Veterans and more general suicide prevention measures. These include encouraging Veterans to seek help and campaigns to reduce the stigma of engaging with support services. The study provides important evidence that can help towards understanding how Veterans may struggle with poor mental health and should help the UK to tailor support to meet their needs.

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Thu, 16 May 2024 11:06:30 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/5ca450ac-00cc-4afa-b889-c8106d0a5762/500_kclveteran-2024-05-13-0952rodway.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/5ca450ac-00cc-4afa-b889-c8106d0a5762/kclveteran-2024-05-13-0952rodway.jpg?10000
Around 6% of the UK adult population have a food allergy, new report finds /discover/news/around-6-of-the-uk-adult-population-have-a-food-allergy-new-report-finds/ /discover/news/around-6-of-the-uk-adult-population-have-a-food-allergy-new-report-finds/631711The Food Standards Agency (FSA) publishes its Patterns and Prevalence of Adult Food Allergy (PAFA) report, a large study carried out by partners including Vlogٷ, into the prevalence of food allergies in the adult population in the UK.

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The Food Standards Agency (FSA) publishes its Patterns and Prevalence of Adult Food Allergy (PAFA) report, a large study carried out by partners including Vlogٷ, into the prevalence of food allergies in the adult population in the UK.

The PAFA project found that more than 30% of adults reported some types of adverse reactions when eating food - meaning they had an illness or trouble when eating a particular food. When this was investigated further through a clinical assessment, it was found that around 6% of the UK adult population are estimated to have a clinically confirmed food allergy. This equates to around 2.4 million adults in the UK.   

The research also found that for UK adults:  

  • Foods such as peanuts and tree nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds, are most likely to cause an allergic reaction. 
  • Many individuals also had allergies to fresh fruits such as apple, peach and kiwi fruit. These were associated with allergies to birch pollen, also known as pollen-food allergy syndrome or oral allergy syndrome. 
  • Allergies to foods like milk, fish, shrimp and mussels were uncommon. 
  • Childhood food allergies persist into early adulthood, and then further increase with around half of food allergies developing in later adulthood. 

Professor Robin May, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Food Standards Agency said: 

“The PAFA report is significant in helping us identify how food allergies evolve between childhood and adulthood, as well as providing vital insights into links between certain types of foods and the persistence of allergies into adulthood.  

“Through this research, we can see patterns such as the emergence of plant-based allergies affecting more people into adulthood which is important for us to consider as we’ve seen the food system move towards plant-based diets and alternative proteins.  

“The FSA remains committed to ensuring that consumers have clear and accurate allergen labelling to support people in the UK living with a food allergy.  This report will help guide our future work on allergens to ensure everyone can enjoy food that is safe.”  

 

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Thu, 16 May 2024 01:51:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_stock-photo-nuts-mix-in-a-wooden-plate-355672364.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/stock-photo-nuts-mix-in-a-wooden-plate-355672364.jpg?10000
New £8.2M MRC Medicines Development Fellowship Programme announced /discover/news/new-82m-mrc-medicines-development-fellowship-programme-announced/ /discover/news/new-82m-mrc-medicines-development-fellowship-programme-announced/629330Vlogٷ, Queen Mary University London, the University of Glasgow and a number of industry partners are  to take part in an exciting new MRC-funded medicines career development partnership  lead by The University of Liverpool.

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Vlogٷ, Queen Mary University London, the University of Glasgow and a number of industry partners are  to take part in an exciting new MRC-funded medicines career development partnership  lead by The University of Liverpool.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) Medicines Development Fellowship Programme will strengthen interactions between academia and industry to deliver world-class medicines development. It will support four pre-doctoral Fellows and the development of four new, five-year Clinician Scientist Fellowships.

The programme is co-funded and supported by two major pharmaceutical companies, GSK and AstraZeneca in addition to Optum and Hammersmith Medicines Research, the UK’s largest clinical research organisation for early clinical trials.

It will cover several disease areas as core themes, including infection and inflammation, cardiac and respiratory disease, oncology and neuropsychiatry.  These align with key strengths of the four Universities, such as experimental medicine, artificial intelligence and data science, and product development areas for industry partners.

The unique scheme will foster a seamless working environment which robustly addresses multi-sector mobility and porosity between academia, industry and the NHS.

The University of  Manchester lead,  Professor Anne Barton said: ”This Fellowship scheme, co-funded by the partner Universities, MRC and Industry, provides a wonderful opportunity to increase capacity to develop and deliver clinical trials that will ultimately benefit the patients we serve."

said: “Developing new medicines, or using existing medicines in a better way, is key to improving outcomes for patients.  This truly unique scheme offers an exciting opportunity for medically-qualified trainees at all levels, to undertake the best science in an environment that will foster joint working between Universities and Industry.  We want to ensure that the scheme provides a greatly enhanced experience for all Fellows.  We will also provide a dedicated teaching programme, mentorship from academia and industry, peer support and collegiality as well as opportunities to network and to develop skills in leadership, patient involvement and in communication and engagement.  I am grateful to all the partners, academic and industry, who are taking part in the scheme.

Dr David Pan, Head of Programme, Training and Careers at MRC said: “This new programme gives clinician scientists valuable experience working across the diverse industries involved in the pharmaceutical development process, from major pharmaceutical companies to data science and clinical research. The strong industry commitment further supports our efforts to build the numbers of clinical academics. The knowledge and experience they will gain of the regulatory and clinical trial process involved in the commercialisation of discoveries will provide long term benefits for both sectors and help to support the development of future therapeutics.” 

The new scheme builds on the 13-year success of the North West England MRC Fellowship Scheme in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Scheme, a partnership between the University of Liverpool and the University of Manchester.

The MRC Medicines Development Fellowship Programme is now recruiting fellows.

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Tue, 30 Apr 2024 08:00:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/17dec39e-b949-421d-999f-c0a30ac6f1a1/500_stock-photo-lab-research-479843851.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/17dec39e-b949-421d-999f-c0a30ac6f1a1/stock-photo-lab-research-479843851.jpg?10000
Scientists grow human mini-lungs as animal alternative for nanomaterial safety testing /discover/news/scientists-grow-human-mini-lungs-as-animal-alternative-for-nanomaterial-safety-testing/ /discover/news/scientists-grow-human-mini-lungs-as-animal-alternative-for-nanomaterial-safety-testing/627942Human mini-lungs grown by University of Manchester scientists can mimic the response of animals when exposed to certain nanomaterials.

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Human mini-lungs grown by University of Manchester scientists can mimic the response of animals when exposed to certain nanomaterials.

The study at the University’s NanoCell Biology Lab at the Centre for Nanotechnology in Medicine is published in the influential journal .

Though not expected to replace animal models completely, human organoids could soon lead to significant reductions in research animal numbers, the team led by cell biologist and nanotoxicologist Dr Sandra Vranic argues.

Grown in a dish from human stem cells, lung organoids are multicellular, three-dimensional structures that aim to recreate key features of human tissues such as cellular complexity and architecture.

They are increasingly used to better understand various pulmonary diseases, from cystic fibrosis to lung cancer, and infectious diseases including SARS-CoV-2.

However, their ability to capture tissue responses to nanomaterial exposure has until now not been shown.

To expose the organoid model to carbon-based nanomaterials, Dr Rahaf Issa, lead scientist in Dr Vranic’s group, developed a method to accurately dose and microinject nanomaterials into the organoid’s lumen.

It simulated the real-life exposure of the apical pulmonary epithelium, the outermost layer of cells lining respiratory passages within the lungs.

Existing animal research data has shown that a type of long and rigid multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) can cause adverse effects in lungs, leading to persistent inflammation and fibrosis - a serious type of irreversible scarring in the lung.

Using the same biological endpoints, the team’s human lung organoids showed a similar biological response, which validates them as tools for predicting nanomaterial driven responses in lung tissue.

The human organoids enabled better understanding of interactions of nanomaterials with the model tissue, but at the cellular level.

Graphene oxide (GO), a flat, thin and flexible form of carbon nanomaterial, was found to be momentarily trapped out of harm’s way in a substance produced by the respiratory system called secretory mucin.

In contrast, MWCNT induced a more persistent interaction with the alveolar cells, with more limited mucin secretion and leading to the growth of fibrous tissue.

In a further development, Dr Issa and Vranic based at the University’s for in Medicine are now developing and studying a ground-breaking human lung organoid that also contains an integrated immune cell component.

Dr Vranic said: “With further validation, prolonged exposure, and the incorporation of an immune component, human lung organoids could greatly reduce the need for animals used in nanotoxicology research.

 “Developed to encourage humane animal research, the 3Rs of replacement, reduction and refinement are now embedded in UK law and in many other countries.

“Public attitudes consistently show that support for animal research is conditional on the 3Rs being put into practice.”

Professor Kostas Kostarelos, Chair of Nanomedicine at the University said: “Current ‘2D testing’ of nanomaterials using two-dimensional cell culture models provide some understanding of cellular effects, but they are so simplistic as it can only partially depict the complex way cells communicate with each other.

“It certainly does not represent the complexity of the human pulmonary epithelium and may misrepresent the toxic potential of nanomaterials, for better or for worse.

”Though animals will still be needed in research for the foreseeable future, ‘3D’ organoids nevertheless are an exciting prospect in our research field and in research more generally as a human equivalent and animal alternative.”

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Thu, 18 Apr 2024 13:00:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/cab9a6e0-92ff-49f2-8cf9-650c82c78feb/500_organoid.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/cab9a6e0-92ff-49f2-8cf9-650c82c78feb/organoid.jpg?10000
Antipsychotics for dementia linked to more harms than previously acknowledged /discover/news/antipsychotics-for-dementia-linked-to-more-harms-than-previously-acknowledged/ /discover/news/antipsychotics-for-dementia-linked-to-more-harms-than-previously-acknowledged/627914Risks highest soon after starting drugs, underscoring need for increased caution in early stages of treatment, say expertsAntipsychotic use in people with dementia is associated with higher risks of a wide range of serious health outcomes compared with non-use, according to a new study from a collaboration across the Universities of Manchester, Nottingham, Edinburgh and Dundee.

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Antipsychotic use in people with dementia is associated with higher risks of a wide range of serious health outcomes compared with non-use, according to a new study from a collaboration across the Universities of Manchester, Nottingham, Edinburgh and Dundee.

Higher rates of stroke, blood clots, heart attack, heart failure, fracture, pneumonia, and acute kidney injury were observed in the study funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR)and published in today (17/04/24)

The findings show a considerably wider range of harms associated with antipsychotic use in people with dementia than previously acknowledged in regulatory alerts, with risks highest soon after starting the drugs, underscoring the need for increased caution in the early stages of treatment.

Despite safety concerns, antipsychotics continue to be widely prescribed for behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia such as apathy, depression, aggression, anxiety, irritability, delirium, and psychosis.

Previous regulatory warnings when prescribing antipsychotics for these symptoms were based on evidence of increased risks for stroke and death, but evidence of other adverse outcomes was less conclusive amongst people with dementia.

To address this uncertainty, Vlogٷ researchers set out to investigate the risks of several adverse outcomes potentially associated with antipsychotic use in people with dementia.

The outcomes of interest were stroke, major blood clots (venous thromboembolism), heart attack (myocardial infarction), heart failure, irregular heart rhythm (ventricular arrhythmia), fractures, pneumonia, and acute kidney injury.

Using linked primary care, hospital, and mortality data in England, they identified 173,910 people (63% women) diagnosed with dementia at an average age of 82 between January 1998 and May 2018 who had not been prescribed an antipsychotic in the year before their diagnosis.

Each of the 35,339 patients prescribed an antipsychotic on or after the date of their dementia diagnosis was then matched with up to 15 randomly selected patients who had not used antipsychotics.

The most commonly prescribed antipsychotics were risperidone, quetiapine, haloperidol, and olanzapine, which together accounted for almost 80% of all prescriptions.

Potentially influential factors including personal patient characteristics, lifestyle, pre-existing medical conditions, and prescribed drugs were also taken into account.

Compared with non-use, antipsychotics were associated with increased risks for all outcomes, except ventricular arrhythmia. For example, in the first three months of treatment, rates of pneumonia among antipsychotic users were 4.48% vs 1.49% for non-users. At one year, this rose to 10.41% for antipsychotic users vs 5.63% for non-users. 

Risks were also high among antipsychotic users for acute kidney injury (1.7-fold increased risk), as well as stroke and venous thromboembolism (1.6-fold increased risk) compared with non-users.

For almost all outcomes, risks were highest during the first week of antipsychotic treatment, particularly for pneumonia.

The researchers estimate that over the first six months of treatment, antipsychotic use might be associated with one additional case of pneumonia for every 9 patients treated, and one additional heart attack for every 167 patients treated. At two years, there might be one additional case of pneumonia for every 15 patients treated, and one additional heart attack for every 254 patients treated.

This was a large analysis based on reliable health data. However, because it was an observational study, no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. And although a range of factors have been adjusted for, the possibility that other unmeasured variables may have affected the results can’t be ruled out.

Senior author Prof Darren M Ashcroft, University of Manchester, Director of NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Research Collaboration (PSRC), NIHR Senior Investigator said: “In recent years, it has become clear that more people with dementia are being prescribed antipsychotic drugs, despite existing regulatory safety warnings. It is important that any potential benefits of antipsychotic treatment are weighed carefully against the risk of serious harm, and treatment plans need to be regularly reviewed in all health and care settings.” 

Co-investigator Prof Tony Avery, OBE, University of Nottingham, and NIHR Senior Investigator said: “For many years there have been safety concerns about the use of antipsychotics for managing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, with increased risk of stroke and death being reported. Our study shows that the use of antipsychotics in this group of patients is also associated with other harms including pneumonia, venous thromboembolism, myocardial infarction, heart failure, fracture, and acute kidney injury. This means that it is even more important to take account of risk of harm when considering prescribing these medicines, and to use alternative approaches wherever possible.”

Lead author Dr Pearl Mok, Research Fellow, University of Manchester said: “With the number of people living with dementia forecast to increase greatly in the coming years, further research into safer drug and more efficacious non-drug treatments for behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia are needed.” 

Multiple adverse outcomes associated with antipsychotic use in people with dementia: population based matched cohort study is published in the doi: 10.1136/bmj-2023-076268

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University of Manchester, Boots And No7 beauty company renew 20-year partnership to supercharge skin science advancements /discover/news/university-of-manchester-boots-and-no7-beauty-company-renew-20-year-partnership-to-supercharge-skin-science-advancements/ /discover/news/university-of-manchester-boots-and-no7-beauty-company-renew-20-year-partnership-to-supercharge-skin-science-advancements/626905The pioneering collaboration is delivering game-changing British skincare products and high street success including the launch of No7 Future Renew – the UK’s biggest ever beauty launchNo7 Beauty Company and Boots today announce the renewal of their 20-year, multi-million-pound partnership with the University of Manchester Centre for Dermatology Research for a further five years. The partnership has accelerated discoveries in skin science and paved the way for game-changing skincare products that have fuelled the growth and reputation of the British beauty industry globally.  

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No7 Beauty Company and Boots today announce the renewal of their 20-year, multi-million-pound partnership with the University of Manchester Centre for Dermatology Research for a further five years. The partnership has accelerated discoveries in skin science and paved the way for game-changing skincare products that have fuelled the growth and reputation of the British beauty industry globally.  

The renewed commitment will help Boots and No7 Beauty Company continue to break new ground in helping people care for their skin throughout their life, whether it is maintaining skin health, helping to combat skin ageing or supporting people through significant skin changes such as those resulting from the menopause. It will also further strengthen their market leading cosmetic science innovation pipeline, which has delivered product innovations generating waiting lists of up to 100,000 people, physical queues outside Boots stores and surges in visits to boots.com. 

The announcement was made at a special event held at the University, which celebrated some of the partnership’s most significant scientific milestones, including the launch of its biggest scientific breakthrough to date; the ground-breaking No7 Future Renew skincare range. The range was launched exactly one year ago this week and was developed following 15 years of research and development between scientists at both organisations, resulting in the discovery of a world-first super peptide blend formulated into a best-selling range and serum that is clinically proven to reverse visible signs of skin damage.  This innovation has taken the beauty industry by storm, with the Future Renew serum becoming a global bestseller and the biggest ever beauty launch in the UK.  In the UK, there were more than 500,000 transactions in the first four weeks, and a year later, one product is still sold every seven seconds.

The collaboration renewal also coincides with both institutions celebrating landmark anniversaries; with Boots marking its 175th anniversary and Vlogٷ reaching its 200 year milestone in 2024.

Mark Winter, Managing Director, No7 Beauty Company, said: We are incredibly proud of our longstanding partnership with the UoM’s Centre for Dermatology Research and excited for the next phase of our collaboration.  Scientific innovation is part of our DNA and by working with world-leading partners like the University of Manchester we are committed to using our unrivalled research expertise to be at the forefront of skincare and cosmetic innovation, developing ground-breaking, clinically proven, affordable products that work for everyone.”

The event was attended by representatives from both institutions, including Ornella Barra, Chief Operating Officer, International, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc and Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, Vlogٷ.  

from Vlogٷ said: “We are delighted to be able to continue our partnership with Boots and to pursue our shared aims of uncovering new insights into skin biology and applying this knowledge to repairing accumulated damage.” 

, also from Vlogٷ  said: "Our longstanding partnership with Boots has enabled us to explore the depths of skin science while delivering real-world benefits to consumers through clinical translational research. We are thrilled to continue this collaboration, advancing innovation and enhancing skin health for all individuals."

Where it all began
The partnership was established twenty years ago by a small team of No7 and University of Manchester scientists. The ambition was to come together to create cutting-edge skincare solutions that could be taken from the laboratory straight to the high street.  One of the first innovations was the renowned No7 Protect & Perfect serum. The serum famously featured in a BBC Horizon programme in 2007, where the efficacy of the serum was verified by independent dermatologists, leading to the product selling out in Boots stores throughout the UK.

Fast forward to 2024 and today, the collaboration has caught the eyes of the scientific community and the Government.  It has also:  

  • Led to 10 patents being filed, with more in the pipeline
  • Resulted in over 100 academic publications including 60 peer reviewed papers published in scientific journals
  • Helped to upskill thousands of beauty advisors and pharmacists within Boots stores
  • Supported a UK talent pipeline of brilliant entrepreneurial scientists – many of whom are female
  • Significantly raised the reputation of bioscience research in the UK and in particular in the North West
  • Helped put No7 on the global map with distribution now extending to over a dozen countries including Australia, the Nordics and the US
  • Created effective collaborations both in the UK and internationally with the likes of Imperial College London, Kings College, Newcastle, York and Liverpool universities, as well as internationally with Johns Hopkins.

Millie Kendall OBE, CEO, British Beauty Council, comments: “The launch of No7 Future Renew was somewhat revolutionary.  The teams took a ground-breaking scientific discovery straight into an affordable, accessible skincare range available to all on the British high street, whereas traditionally you would see cutting-edge scientific innovations trickle down to high street products several years after launching in premium products or clinics. It is testament to the rigour and strength of the partnership between Vlogٷ, Boots and No7 Beauty Company that they have created truly world-leading skincare innovation together.”

New era of discovery beckons
The renewal of the partnership establishes a ground-breaking five-year research programme that will explore peptides, clinical testing, skin immunology, and the skin microbiome. It includes a pioneering project to investigate skin across the pigmentary spectrum, aiming to develop more inclusive and effective technologies suitable for all skin tones. The project has already secured multi-million-pound funding from The BBSRC’s Prosperity Award, marking a significant investment in advancing skin science.

Samantha Dover, Mintel Category Director of Beauty and Personal Care research, said: “Beauty consumers are increasingly discerning and want to know more about the products they buy. This is exemplified by the 71% of UK adults who believe beauty brands should provide more scientific evidence to validate their claims. Showcasing the research and development behind a product can provide brands with a powerful point of difference in a crowded market. Moreover, partnerships that elevate and spotlight the R&D process will undoubtedly appeal to consumers who want brands to validate their claims, and therefore can build brand trust and loyalty.” 

Investing in the next generation of British scientists
Throughout the partnership, Vlogٷ, Boots and No7 Beauty Company will support the next generation of scientists through the following initiatives:

  • Funding from BBSRC Collaborative Training Partnership in 2021 to train 15 PhD students, addressing skills gaps in the UK bioscience industry.
  • Co-investing with UKRI since 2019, with UKRI recognising the No7 Future Renew story as an exemplar of business and university collaboration.

An event is being held at Vlogٷ on April 11th (the one year anniversary of the No7 Future Renew launch) to celebrate the impact and success of the partnership and look ahead at the next phase. 

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Thu, 11 Apr 2024 11:15:12 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/07ac5da8-d786-46cf-8f98-7d987e9b4c83/500_no7futurerenewfullcollection.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/07ac5da8-d786-46cf-8f98-7d987e9b4c83/no7futurerenewfullcollection.jpg?10000
Cancer Research UK Manchester Centre to receive £8.5m boost for clinician scientist training /discover/news/cancer-research-uk-manchester-centre-to-receive-85m-boost-for-clinician-scientist-training/ /discover/news/cancer-research-uk-manchester-centre-to-receive-85m-boost-for-clinician-scientist-training/626580Cancer Research UK has announced today that universities across Scotland and England including the Cancer Research UK Manchester Centre are set to receive a multimillion-pound cash injection to train more doctors as clinician scientists, so they can undertake cancer research. Cancer Research UK are investing a total of £58m, with Manchester set to receive £8.5m.

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Cancer Research UK has announced today that universities across Scotland and England including the Cancer Research UK Manchester Centre are set to receive a multimillion-pound cash injection to train more doctors as clinician scientists, so they can undertake cancer research. Cancer Research UK are investing a total of £58m, with Manchester set to receive £8.5m.

The Clinical Academic Training Programme will invest £58.7m at nine research centres including the Cancer Research UK Manchester Centre in partnership with the Christie NHS Foundation and Vlogٷ and The University of Leeds.  

Clinician scientists play an essential role in translating cancer research, helping to bridge the gap between scientific research carried out in laboratories and clinical research involving patients. Working across both research settings, their contributions to new knowledge and its translation to clinical practice are critical for cancer research.

Cancer Research UK’s Clinical Academic Training Programme Award will continue to transform clinical research training at nine of its research centres over the next five years. It builds on the 5-year £50.7 million investment awarded by the charity in 2019. In total, the Cancer Research UK will have invested more than £109 million in this programme over ten years, signalling the critical role the charity plays in supporting the UK’s life sciences ecosystem.

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s Chief Executive, said:  “Clinician scientists have a very important role to play by bringing their knowledge and experience of treating people with cancer to scientific research.

“We need all our doctors and scientists to be able to reach their full potential, no matter their background. That’s why we are continuing to provide flexible training options for early-career clinician scientists. After the success of the first five years of this programme, we want to encourage even more clinicians to get involved in cancer research to help us get closer to a world where everybody lives longer, better lives free from the fear of cancer.”

Becoming a clinician scientist usually involves doctors taking time out of their medical training to undertake a PhD, before returning to train in their chosen specialisation, but many clinicians don’t come back to research after qualifying as consultants.

To address this problem, Cancer Research UK awarded funding to provide flexible training options alongside mentorship and networking opportunities to better support clinicians who want to get involved and stay in cancer research, through building stronger clinician scientist networks within and across research institutes.

In particular, the funding allows universities to offer combined Bachelor of Medicine-Doctor of Philosophy (MB-PhD) qualifications to early career clinicians – which allows medical students to complete a PhD earlier in their medical training.

Data from the Medical Schools Council Clinical Academic Survey reports a decline in the number of clinical academic positions between 2011–2020. US data also suggests that offering combined qualifications retains more women in clinical research roles.

Welcoming Cancer Research UK’s renewing of clinical training funding in Scotland, the Director of the Cancer Research UK Scotland Centre, Professor Charlie Gourley, said:  “We are delighted to gain further Cancer Research UK funding and to work with colleagues across Scotland to offer doctors new and flexible training opportunities so that they can become the clinical cancer researcher leaders of the future.

“It is vital for our laboratory scientists to be able to work with clinicians at all levels and specialities to find new and better treatments for cancer. This will undoubtedly lead to benefits for cancer patients in the longer term.”

The Cancer Research UK Manchester Centre is one of eight centres in England receiving further CATP funding The Director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Centre and Professor of Cancer Studies at Vlogٷ, said: “Renewing funding for this programme of training and support for clinician scientists is another step forward.  The increased flexibility offered, and additional funding and support after doing a PhD will allow more time for doctors to do research, no matter their background and personal circumstances.

“This continued investment by Cancer Research UK will deliver a highly enthusiastic, educated, and diverse workforce in the UK who will help bring new cancer treatments and diagnostic tests to those who need it most.”

Medical student, transferred to a CRUK-funded MB-PhD course in 2020. Under the supervision of , her PhD focussed on using a new way of measuring obesity-related factors in individuals, called “overweight years”, similar to how “pack-years” is used to measure an individual smoker’s tobacco use.

She completed her PhD studies in 2023 and should complete her medical degree next year, with her gained research experience informing her studies and medical practice.

Reflecting on her MB-PhD studies, Dr Nadin Hawwash said: “The MB-PhD pathway to become a clinical scientist stood out for me, because it helps medical graduates to stay in research following undergraduate training.

“The course allowed me to: undertake data science-focused cancer research; create international collaborations; assemble and analyse a consortium with over 1.4 million individuals from 10 countries; and present my research globally.

“I am thrilled that more aspiring researchers will be able to train as clinician scientists in Manchester and elsewhere, to contribute to cutting-edge cancer research projects that will ultimately benefit patients.”

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Fri, 05 Apr 2024 09:00:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/c9bf7b6c-0aa7-4c07-8e18-ea2e267314a2/500_scientist-hand-blue-gloves-holding-450w-1733834042.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/c9bf7b6c-0aa7-4c07-8e18-ea2e267314a2/scientist-hand-blue-gloves-holding-450w-1733834042.jpg?10000
New £7M research investment to investigate population-based improvement of mental health /discover/news/new-7m-research-investment-to-investigate-population-based-improvement-of-mental-health/ /discover/news/new-7m-research-investment-to-investigate-population-based-improvement-of-mental-health/626008£7 million funding from UK Research and Innovation has been awarded to lead partner King’s College London to establish a research theme in Population Mental Health, as part of a new national research network Population Health Improvement UK (PHI-UK) which includes University of Manchester researchers.

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£7million funding from UK Research and Innovation has been awarded to lead partner King’s College London to establish a research theme in Population Mental Health, as part of a new national research network Population Health Improvement UK (PHI-UK) which includes University of Manchester researchers.

The aim of Population Health Improvement UK is to find innovative and inclusive ways to improve the health of people, places and communities and reduce health inequalities through the development and evaluation of long-lasting and environmentally sustainable interventions.

Population Mental Health is one of four initial research themes in the network. These themes are operationalised through investments in research clusters that bring together universities, government organisations, voluntary organisations and community partnerships, across the UK.

King’s College London (Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience) and Thrive LDN are co-directors of this interdisciplinary research theme which aims to understand, identify and affect real-world policy change, to better address population-based improvement of mental health in the UK.

The other three themes in PHI-UK are Healthy Urban Places, Commercial Determinants of Health & Equity, and Enhancing Policy Modelling.

Research in the PHI-UK Population Mental Health theme is underpinned by three challenge areas: children and young people’s mental health, prevention of suicide and self-harm, and multiple long term health conditions, with a central focus on tackling mental health inequalities.

Principal Investigator and theme Director Dr Jayati Das-Munshi, from the IoPPN and the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health, King’s College London said: “This is an exciting initiative to tackle a growing need to address public mental health challenges facing the UK today. We will strengthen our partnerships across local government, public health, voluntary organisations and universities across the UK. We will work with our stakeholders and people with lived experience, to harness large-scale data, to understand which population interventions hold the greatest promise, leading to good mental health for all.

At Vlogٷ, will co-lead the ‘Prevention of Suicide and Self-harm’ challenge and will co-lead the ‘Data, Linkages and Causal Inference’ cross-cutting platform.

Professor Webb said: “I am excited to be involved in this innovative collaborative research programme. My studies will evaluate the impact of population-level policies and public health interventions on suicide and self-harm inequalities.”

Professor Sutton said: “The UK has such rich data on the causes, conditions and consequences associated with mental health, and I look forward to working with colleagues across the UK in discovering what we can learn from them together.” 

Photo by  on 

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Thu, 28 Mar 2024 11:17:03 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/905b6569-c3bb-4e52-8a20-ecb20b2fb3b3/500_photobychuttersnaponunsplash.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/905b6569-c3bb-4e52-8a20-ecb20b2fb3b3/photobychuttersnaponunsplash.jpg?10000
Locums and permanent GPs equally safe, study reassures patients /discover/news/locums-and-permanent-gps-equally-safe-study-reassures-patients/ /discover/news/locums-and-permanent-gps-equally-safe-study-reassures-patients/625608There is no evidence that locum doctors are less clinically competent or practice less safely than permanent doctors, a study in England led by University of Manchester researchers has shown.

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There is no evidence that locum doctors are less clinically competent or practice less safely than permanent doctors, a study in England led by University of Manchester researchers has shown.

Some differences in practice and performance of locum and permanent GPs were found, however the researchers suggest they are likely to be shaped by the organisational setting and systems within which they work.

The results of the study -  the largest ever carried out on temporary doctors, was published in BMC Medicine today (20/03/2024), and should allay concerns over the competency of temporary doctors in general practice.

The researchers found no evidence that emergency admission numbers occurring within seven days of a consultation were different when seen by a locum or a permanent GP.

Hospital admissions for conditions often managed in primary care such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Asthma, Diabetes mellitus, Epilepsy, Hypertension, Heart failure, Stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA), Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and Hypothyroidism also did not differ after seven days. 

And eight out of the 11 prescribing safety indicators used by the researchers  in the study showed no differences between locum and permanent GPs.

Differences for the remaining three were small and two which showed locums to be prescribing more safely were not clinically meaningful.

The research team examined around 3.5 million patient electronic health records from the  CPRD GOLD database with linkage to Hospital Episode Statistics.

They analysed 37 million recorded consultations from a representative sample of the primary care population of England from 1st April 2010 to 31st March 2022.

However, there were some differences in practice found by the researchers: patients who had a consultation with a locum GP were 12% less likely to return to practice for another consultation when compared to patients who had a consultation with a permanent GP.

Those patients, suggest the researchers, could have opted to wait to see a permanent GP out of preference. Some practices may assign more straightforward cases, which wouldn’t require another consultation, to locums.

A consultation with a locum was 21% more likely to lead to a prescription for an antibiotic and 8% more likely to lead to a prescription for strong opioid painkillers. That may indicate locums are likely to be less aware of or compliant with practice prescribing guidelines, potentially explaining the difference.

Locum GPs were also markedly less likely to both order tests (20% less) and refer patients (15% less) to other services such as hospital outpatient clinics than permanent GPs.

That, suggest the researchers may be down to practices setting  constraints on such decisions by locums, requiring them to be reviewed or approved by another GP in the practice.

Lead author said: “Staff shortages in the global health sector are considered to be one of the most significant health issues of our time.

That is why locums are a key component of the medical workforce in the NHS. However, evidence on differences in quality and safety between locum and permanent doctors is limited.

“There have been some past high profile examples of poor quality care by locum doctors, though the same could likely be said for permanent doctors.

“Indeed our qualitative research suggests that some patients actually welcome the opportunity to see a locum GP because they get a fresh perspective on their condition."

Study co-author added: “Despite  public concerns, the clinical practice and performance of locum GPs did not appear to be systematically different from that of permanent GPs in our study.

"Greater attention to the quality of induction, supervision, communication, and practice management may help address some of the differences we did find.

“We believe future research should focus on understanding how organisations can make best use of locums as part of their wider medical workforce and how locum doctors can be enabled to practice and perform effectively as members of the clinical team.”

The paper, ‘Comparing the clinical practice and prescribing safety of locum and permanent doctors: observational study of primary care consultations in England’, is available .

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Wed, 27 Mar 2024 01:49:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/f51e4212-7277-4808-b79f-b638dc865ef8/500_british-gp-talking-senior-man-450w-98521112.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/f51e4212-7277-4808-b79f-b638dc865ef8/british-gp-talking-senior-man-450w-98521112.jpg?10000
Manchester team to be presented with prestigious international award for cancer research /discover/news/manchester-team-to-be-presented-with-prestigious-international-award-for-cancer-research/ /discover/news/manchester-team-to-be-presented-with-prestigious-international-award-for-cancer-research/625655Researchers based at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and Vlogٷ, supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), have been awarded an American Association for Cancer Research Award (AACR).

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Researchers based at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and Vlogٷ, supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), have been awarded an American Association for Cancer Research Award (AACR).

The ‘Team Womb’ collective, headed by Professor Emma Crosbie, Honorary Consultant in Gynaecological Oncology at MFT have been given the prestigious Team Science Award for their pioneering work on Lynch-syndrome associated endometrial cancer.

The team from Saint Mary’s Hospital (pictured below), part of MFT, will receive this award at the on Sunday 7 April in San Diego, California. The 10 researchers are from MFT, Vlogٷ, Manchester Cancer Research Centre, and NIHR Manchester BRC.

, who is Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Co-Theme Lead at NIHR Manchester BRC and Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at Vlogٷ said: “I am thrilled that our research means that everyone diagnosed with endometrial cancer in the UK is now offered testing for Lynch syndrome. The recognition of this work through the prestigious 2024 AACR Team Science Award is a tremendous honour and I would like to thank everyone who supported us along the way. This was a true multidisciplinary effort involving clinicians, allied healthcare professionals, researchers, patients and charities without whom none of this would have been possible.”

Manchester’s ‘Team Womb’ led a research programme that identified a link between womb cancer and Lynch syndrome, changing clinical practice across the UK.

Lynch syndrome is a genetic condition that can significantly increase the risk of developing cancer. It affects around 1 in 300 people, with most unaware that they have it. This condition runs in families and means anyone with the faulty gene carries a high risk of developing womb, bowel and other cancers.

Through unselected and comprehensive testing all womb cancer patients attending MFT between 2016-18, the team showed that 3% had Lynch syndrome and defined the best strategy for identifying them.

Following this study, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) commissioned an expert advisory group to assess the evidence, and resulted in a change in guidance which recommends universal testing of all endometrial cancer patients for Lynch syndrome. This guideline means around 1,000 new people per year in the UK alone can benefit from cancer prevention strategies.

The AACR founded the prestigious Team Science award in 2006 to recognise the growing importance of interdisciplinary teams in understanding cancer and for translating research through to clinical care.

Annually, this award recognises ‘outstanding interdisciplinary research’ teams for their ‘innovative and meritorious science’ that has ‘advanced or may advance our fundamental knowledge of cancer, or has applied existing knowledge to advancing the detection, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of cancer’.

2024-25 AACR President, Dr Patricia M. LoRusso said; “I believe that this team exemplify true team science, bring together an interdisciplinary team of academics, clinicians and healthcare staff from across medicine, oncology, pathology, health economics and behavioural science. Within this nomination I highlight their exceptional and practice changing work within detection, alongside several outstanding current and future projects they have in their portfolio.”

Picture captions:

Photo 1 – Team Womb (from left to right): Prof Ray McMahon, Ms Nadira Narine, Prof Katherine Payne, Dr Louise Gorman, Prof Emma Crosbie, Dr Neil Ryan, Dr Rhona McVey, Dr James Bolton. Also Prof Gareth Evans and Dr Durgesh Rana (not in photo)

Photo 2 – Team Womb (from left to right): Dr Rhona McVey, Dr James Bolton, Dr Louise Gorman, Ms Nadira Narine, Prof Emma Crosbie, Prof Katherine Payne, Dr Neil Ryan, Prof Ray McMahon. Also Prof Gareth Evans and Dr Durgesh Rana (not in photo)

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Mon, 25 Mar 2024 18:00:28 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/028570df-7669-4bd8-bb06-0adca47b8cb5/500_emmaaward.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/028570df-7669-4bd8-bb06-0adca47b8cb5/emmaaward.jpg?10000
Devo Manc led to significant improvements across health system, study finds /discover/news/devo-manc-led-to-significant-improvements-across-health-system-study-finds/ /discover/news/devo-manc-led-to-significant-improvements-across-health-system-study-finds/625413The devolution deals which granted Greater Manchester increased control over a range of public services enabled them to make significant improvements in many parts of the health system, a unique study led by University of Manchester researchers has shown.

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The devolution deals which granted Greater Manchester increased control over a range of public services enabled them to make significant improvements in many parts of the health system, a unique study led by University of Manchester researchers has shown.

The study, which evaluated changes in Greater Manchester from 2016 to 2020 compared to the rest of England, is published in the journal Social Science & Medicine today (25/03/24). 

It builds on previous evidence by investigating how changes in the health system may have led to increases in life expectancy in Greater Manchester over this period, analysing 98 measures of performance.

It was funded by The Health Foundation and supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM).

According to the study, there were 11.1% fewer alcohol related hospital admissions, 11.6% fewer first time offenders, 14.4% fewer hospital admissions for violence, and 3.1% fewer half school days missed from 2016 to 2020.

Same day GP appointments increased by 1.8% and unplanned A&E re-attendances were 2.7% lower, in line with increases in the GP and hospital workforce. Cancer screening rates also improved.

Adult social care effectiveness and overall satisfaction also improved by 17.6%, despite decreases in expenditure and staff.

However, adult obesity increased by 7.6% and median wait times for A&E treatment worsened by 12.2%. There were also mixed impacts of devolution on outpatient, mental health, maternity, and dental services.

The positive changes, argue the researchers, are likely to have been a result of different aspects of the Greater Manchester devolution deals.

These include the transfer of control over transformation funding for improving services to the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, the development of collaborative relationships between the NHS agencies and local governments represented on the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership Board, or the impact of wider devolved public services.

The negative changes on other indicators, they add, are likely to be a result of difficulties local decision-makers had in re-prioritising how they used their resources given their limited powers to raise additional revenue through taxation or other means.

Lead author from Vlogٷ said: “This study provides new evidence on the impact of devolution on health and care services , focusing on a large set of performance measures.

“Our findings suggest that devolution in Greater Manchester was associated with broad improvements in health services, social determinants of health, and subsequently, health outcomes.”

Co-author from Vlogٷ and Deputy Director of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) said: “These improvements were achieved despite limited formal devolved authority and control over health and care resources, suggesting that other features of the health and wider devolution deals played an important role.

“However, improvements were not universal. Restricted formal powers are likely to have made it harder to fully reprioritise resources.”

Co-author from Vlogٷ said: “Unlike what we have seen in other devolved places, enhancements were observed in Greater Manchester even with limited health and social care powers, and without the ability to significantly raise revenue through taxes.

“The success of future devolution initiatives to improve population health might depend less on the devolution of formal powers, and more on alignment and collaboration between health and other public services within the region.”

Adam Briggs, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, said: “The past decade was incredibly challenging for health and social care services across England, so it is very positive that this research finds that life expectancy in Greater Manchester has been heading in the right direction. But devolution is complex and, as the researchers point out, it’s hard to know what aspects of the approach taken in Greater Manchester have helped - untangling causation from correlation is very difficult. 

“Ultimately, much of what makes us healthy sits outside of health care services and is instead driven by the building blocks of good health – such as secure housing, good work and education. As public finances get increasingly stretched, closer partnership working between the NHS, local government and communities is needed now more than ever, whether that’s a result of devolution or any other form of local collaboration.”

Chair of NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board, Sir Richard Leese said: “This latest research reinforces what we know, that working together in partnership, locally has better outcomes and supports people to live healthier and happier lives.

“It’s encouraging that our approach has seen increases to healthy life expectancy and better access in some services. However, we recognise where we haven’t seen improvements or the change we hoped for, including against the national average. We’re continuing to work together as a system to improve health and care for everyone. Our commitment to partnership working will give us the best chance of success and tackling health inequalities.”

Chair of Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board, City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “Devolution, in health and care and other areas, has given us the ability to unlock health benefits for our Greater Manchester communities by working together to deliver good housing, good jobs and more. The power, potential and importance of locally driven integration and collaboration is clear from this report. We must maintain this."

The paper “The Impact of Devolution on Local Health Systems: Evidence from Greater Manchester, England" is available .

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Mon, 25 Mar 2024 02:39:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/9000c873-cd98-4b27-b6ae-be705e580849/500_map-manchester-450w-35126875.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/9000c873-cd98-4b27-b6ae-be705e580849/map-manchester-450w-35126875.jpg?10000
£17.9m for Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre network to bolster clinical trial infrastructure in the UK /discover/news/179m-for-advanced-therapy-treatment-centre-network-to-bolster-clinical-trial-infrastructure-in-the-uk/ /discover/news/179m-for-advanced-therapy-treatment-centre-network-to-bolster-clinical-trial-infrastructure-in-the-uk/625274The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), Innovate UK, the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre Network and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) today announce a £17.9 strategic initiative to enhance the UK environment for advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP) clinical trials at three centres, including  Manchester,  and to keep the UK as a location of choice for advanced therapy research,.

The initiative will provide a further four years of funding for the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre Network. The funding will come from NIHR, Innovate UK will provide oversight of the funds and CGT Catapult provide co-ordination of the network.

The ATTC network is currently composed of three centres: Innovate Manchester Advanced Therapy Centre Hub (); Midlands-Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre; and the Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre, with the CGT Catapult providing co-ordination. 

The manchester  health consortium is  led by The Christie and also consists of Vlogٷ (including input from Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute and Manchester Cancer Research Centre), Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (including Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary) and nine life science focused businesses.

The UK is a world leader in ATMP clinical research with 175 ongoing trials being carried out here, and with 9% of global ATMP trials having representation in the UK[1]. Many more products are in development and further action is needed to ensure that the NHS is able to bring advanced therapies to patients at scale across the UK. Through this further funding, and in close collaboration with NIHR infrastructure and the devolved equivalents, the ATTC network aims to build on its work on advanced therapy clinical trial readiness to ensure the UK maintains its position as a globally attractive location for clinical research.

Health Minister Andrew Stephenson, said: “This investment reaffirms the UK’s position as a global leader in clinical research. It will help roll out revolutionary medical products more quickly, potentially treating the root cause of disorders and diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer. Harnessing technological and digital innovations is one of our primary focuses under the first ever NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, enabling new and advanced ways of working.”

Dr Stella Peace, Executive Director for the Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK, said: “From our initial investment to now overseeing the delivery of the new four-year programme, our goal is to ensure the UK maintains its global leadership in clinical research. Our commitment to fostering innovation and scientific advancements is crucial for sustaining this leadership. This drives medical breakthroughs, as well as strengthening the UK economy by attracting investments, generating high-skilled jobs, and positioning us at the forefront of transformative healthcare discoveries.”

Professor Marian Knight, Scientific Director for NIHR Infrastructure said: “The NIHR is committed to ensuring that the UK provides a research environment to enable rapid assessment of new advanced therapies with the potential to transform health and care. Partnerships such as these, linked with existing NIHR research infrastructure, will help ensure that the UK public is able to benefit from these ground-breaking new treatments.”

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult commented: “Advanced therapies have the potential to transform healthcare, providing a range of new, lifechanging treatments to patients. Thanks to far-sighted investments, like this commitment by NIHR and the on-going support of Innovate UK, the UK is recognised globally as a pioneer in advanced therapies. With the continued great work of the ATTC network, we hope to further build the reputation of the UK.”

Professor Fiona Thistlethwaite,  Director of iMATCH,  medical oncology consultant at the Christie and honorary professor of experimental immunotherapy at The University of Manchester said: "“We are delighted to have achieved onward funding for the ATTC network including iMATCH. It means we will be able to progress the work we started in 2018 to scale up activity and overcome barriers in complex cell and gene therapies with Manchester at the heart of these developments.”


 


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Sun, 24 Mar 2024 03:31:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/17dec39e-b949-421d-999f-c0a30ac6f1a1/500_stock-photo-lab-research-479843851.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/17dec39e-b949-421d-999f-c0a30ac6f1a1/stock-photo-lab-research-479843851.jpg?10000
Kinder test could improve diagnosis of womb cancer /discover/news/kinder-test-could-improve-diagnosis-of-womb-cancer/ /discover/news/kinder-test-could-improve-diagnosis-of-womb-cancer/625104A simple, safe and accurate test that identifies women with womb cancer from a sample taken from the vagina has been developed by clinician scientists from Vlogٷ.

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A simple, safe and accurate test that identifies women with womb cancer from a sample taken from the vagina has been developed by clinician scientists from Vlogٷ.

The research, published in the Ebiomedicine, part of the Lancet Discovery Science, reports that the test has over 95% accuracy in identifying post-menopausal women with cancer as the cause of their bleeding, and is more accurate than current methods.

The scientists hope the new test could improve the diagnosis of womb cancer and reduce the need for more invasive, painful and anxiety-provoking tests currently used in hospitals, such as hysteroscopy.

The study was led by , academic clinical lecturer and senior clinical oncology speciality registrar at The University of  Manchester and , Honorary Consultant in Gynaecological Oncology at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at Vlogٷ and Principal Investigator.

Working with collaborators including Professor Anthony Whetton from the University of Surrey, they identified a five-marker panel of proteins in the vaginal fluid that accurately discriminates those with womb cancer from those that do not have cancer.

Samples were taken from symptomatic post-menopausal women recruited from Saint Mary’s Hospital, part of MFT, 53 with and 65 without endometrial cancer.

Samples were taken from symptomatic post-menopausal women, 53 with and 65 without endometrial cancer.

The scientists used a high tech method called SWATH-MS, a technique used in mass spectrometry, which measures the masses of molecules, providing information about their composition and structure.

SWATH-MS  helped them to analyze molecules, and create digital maps of proteins from the samples.

Then, they used machine learning to find the proteins that were most different between samples, creating a simple and accurate diagnostic model based on proteins.

The research was funded by Cancer Research UK Manchester Centre

Womb cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women in the UK with around 9,700 new cases every year.

Abnormal bleeding, especially after the menopause, is the main symptom. However, only 5-10% of women with bleeding have womb cancer as several other benign (non-cancerous) conditions such as polyps and fibroids can also cause bleeding.

Currently in the UK, women with suspected womb cancer undergo a transvaginal ultrasound scan, where a probe is inserted into the vagina to measure the thickness of the lining of the womb.

Those with a thickened womb lining then have their womb visually inspected by hysteroscopy, in which a narrow telescope with a light and camera is passed into the womb through the vagina and cervix.

Where needed, a biopsy will also be taken. The investigations are invasive and can be painful, and for most, unnecessary, since only 5-10% of symptomatic women have a sinister underlying condition.

Lead author, Dr Kelechi Njoku who has also recently been awarded the inaugural Eve Appeal/ Northwest Cancer Research Fellowship said: “The implications of this study are significant. If translated into clinical practice, a non-invasive, cost-effective, and accurate detection tool could improve patient care by swiftly identifying those with womb cancer while sparing many healthy women from unnecessary invasive tests.

Building on this work and with funding support from the Eve Appeal and Northwest Cancer Research, we will be looking at developing clinically feasible assays based on established technologies like ELISA or Lumipulse®, or even newer platforms like lateral flow tests for point-of-care testing.”

Dr Helena O’Flynn, a General Practitioner and Trustee at Peaches Womb Cancer Trust, said: “This new test has the potential to better streamline the diagnostic process and may be used in primary care as a triage tool for women with suspected womb cancer.”

Detection of endometrial cancer in cervico-vaginal fluid and blood plasma: leveraging proteomics and machine learning for biomarker discovery - published in eBioMedicine (thelancet.com) is available

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Thu, 21 Mar 2024 13:35:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_cancerresearch.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/cancerresearch.jpg?10000
Cells harvested from urine may have diagnostic potential for kidney disease, find scientists /discover/news/cells-harvested-from-urine-may-have-diagnostic-potential-for-kidney-disease-find-scientists/ /discover/news/cells-harvested-from-urine-may-have-diagnostic-potential-for-kidney-disease-find-scientists/624199Genes expressed in human cells harvested from urine are remarkably similar to those of the kidney itself, suggesting they could be an important non-invasive source of information on the kidney.

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Genes expressed in human cells harvested from urine are remarkably similar to those of the kidney itself, suggesting they could be an important non-invasive source of information on the kidney.

The news offers hope that doctors may one day be able to investigate suspected kidney pathologies without carrying out invasive procedures such as biopsies, raising the tantalising prospect of earlier and simpler disease detection.

The impact of late detection of kidney disease can be severe and can lead to serious - and sometimes life threatening - complications.

The team led by University of Manchester scientists measured the levels of approximately 20,000 genes in each cellular sediment sample of urine using a technique called transcriptomics.

The British Heart Foundation-funded study benefited from access to the world's largest collection of human kidney samples collected after surgery or kidney biopsy conducted before transplantation, known as the Human Kidney Tissue Resource, at Vlogٷ.

They extracted both DNA and RNA from each sample and connected information from their analysis, together with data from previous large-scale analyses of blood pressure (called genome-wide association studies), using sophisticated computational methods.

Transcriptomics allows scientists to understand which genes are turned on or off in different situations so they can understand how cells respond to changes in their environment.

Such molecular-level understanding enhances the precision and effectiveness of diagnostic approaches, potentially improving patient care and outcomes.

The study, published in Nature Communications today (19/03/24) also showed that low levels of a specific gene in the kidney is likely to be one of the causes of high blood pressure.

The gene, called ENPEP, is an important part of the hormonal system which is essential for regulation of blood pressure, by making an enzyme called aminopeptidase A.

It was one of 399 genes identified by the researchers whose levels in the kidney are also causally related to either increasing or decreasing in blood pressure.

The study was led by Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vlogٷ and Honorary Consultant Physician at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

He is also Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine Co-Theme Lead at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), which supported the research.

He said: “This study shows that using cutting-edge technology we are able to combine different unique datasets together using genetics as a connector.

“One of the most exciting findings of that is we discover how cells harvested from urine have the potential to provide a glimpse into the molecular operation of the human kidney.

“That gives us an exciting avenue of research for non-invasive diagnostic testing.”

He added: “Persistent high blood pressure—or hypertension—can increase the risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

“Our results also show that the gene ENPEP in the kidney is a new promising target for development of new blood pressure lowering medications.

“There are several classes of effective antihypertensives available, though the last new medication approved for management of high blood pressure was over a decade and a half ago.

“While for some people, they are effective, side effects make it difficult for others to take over the long term. That is why we need more choice.”

Professor Bryan Williams, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer at the British Heart Foundation, said: “There is a well-known link between the heart and the kidneys in regulating blood pressure. This study uses cutting-edge scientific techniques to analyse genes present in kidney cells that are normally expelled in the urine. Analysing these cells could reveal which genes may be playing a key role in people with high blood pressure, and could potentially offer clinicians a new, non-invasive way to help diagnose those with kidney disease early on.

“High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and this research has identified a gene called ENPEP that regulates important enzymes in the kidney that could be a promising target for blood pressure-lowering drugs. This study has demonstrated the power in using large sets of data and in doing so, shows how funding research like this can help us to improve treatment for people with high blood pressure.”

The paper Genetic imputation of kidney transcriptome, proteome and multi-omics illuminates  new blood pressure and hypertension targets  is available . The DOI for the paper is 10.1038/s41467-024-46132-y

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Tue, 19 Mar 2024 10:00:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/95f5e3c1-6aa6-4b4c-ba7f-6aed63316949/500_man-tablet-hands-urinary-system-450w-542210950.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/95f5e3c1-6aa6-4b4c-ba7f-6aed63316949/man-tablet-hands-urinary-system-450w-542210950.jpg?10000
New funding to support research technical professionals /discover/news/new-funding-to-support-research-technical-professionals/ /discover/news/new-funding-to-support-research-technical-professionals/624882Community groups working to support technical and research software roles are set to benefit from a share of a new £16 million investment. The investment is by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI). Three of 11 projects will be led by senior technical specialists at The University of Manchester.

RTPs are vital to the effective operation of research infrastructure across the UK. They use their skills and experience to support academic and industrial research, as well as train users in the latest techniques and methods. As well as providing valuable additional skills to improve their long-term career prospects the projects will train RTPs in areas such as:

  • software development
  • data management and processing
  • materials science
  • biomolecular engineering

Collectively, these projects offer a range of interdisciplinary platforms that will nurture specialists applying these skills to scientific and engineering challenges, and provide systematic support to the RTP community.

Their work will include both physical and digital training and development in UK universities that has a strategic regional or national focus, and is based around a group of institutions or a particular scientific field or technology.

Among the funded projects will be the strategic technical platform for university technical professionals (STEP-UP). This will work to create a ‘people infrastructure’ of expert technical talent, along with career opportunities to support them. This will ensure that researchers have the skills to keep up with the rapid pace of developments in research computing, data and artificial intelligence (AI).

The national technical platform for materials innovation will be funded to empower the RTP community working in materials innovation and associated manufacturing technology.

The X-disciplinary Challenges from Industry for Technical Expert Development (X-CITED) programme will connect RTPs with industry to enable effective collaborations. The programme will test a trainee RTP talent bank model, training the next generation of skilled technical support, to enable RTPs to take up development opportunities.

Developing technical capability and capacity for UK secure data environments, led by Dr Philip Couch, will work to attract individuals who want to apply technical skills to a societal cause at different career stages and build a community of RTPs across the north-west of England. It will also work to provide at least six short-term student placements for those studying on undergraduate or masters programmes in relevant subjects.

Development of a national facility and technical training hub for ‘biomolecule engineering’, led by  Dr Derren Heyes  project will unite a collaborative team of internationally recognised RTPs with wide-ranging expertise in the area of biomolecule engineering, across the fields of biology, chemistry, automation and computation, and develop a national facility and technical training hub.

And RTP-led national technical platform for materials innovation, led by professor Tony Horner will empower the RTP community working in materials innovation and associated manufacturing technology through training, development and professional networking opportunities, as well as working to increase the visibility of RTPs and break down barriers between silos.

Jane Nicholson, Research Base Director at EPSRC said: "Through these 11 new projects, the Strategic Technical Platform funding will help cultivate a thriving, dynamic, and vibrant community of research technicians. This community will not only support and elevate cutting-edge research in the UK, but also foster a sizeable, highly skilled and esteemed research technician network. The UK is a world leader in high-tech research and development and it’s essential that we fully support the full breadth of skills needed for the workforce that deliver this innovation."

The STP investment is aligned with UKRI’s Research England funded TALENT programme and the UK Institute for Technical Skills and Strategy (ITSS), which have gathered new strategic insights into the UK’s technical workforce in higher education and research.

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Tue, 19 Mar 2024 08:35:31 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_laboratory-2815641-19202-266863.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/laboratory-2815641-19202-266863.jpg?10000
Raymond Schofield Awarded 2024 Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences age 98 /discover/news/raymond-schofield-awarded-2024-wiley-prize-in-biomedical-sciences-age-98/ /discover/news/raymond-schofield-awarded-2024-wiley-prize-in-biomedical-sciences-age-98/624222Dr Raymond Schofield was awarded the 22nd annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences with Judith Kimble and Allan Spradling for their discovery of the stem cell niche, a localised environment that controls stem cell identity.

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Dr Raymond Schofield was awarded the 22nd annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences with Judith Kimble and Allan Spradling for their discovery of the stem cell niche, a localised environment that controls stem cell identity.

First awarded in 2002, The Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences is presented annually to recognise contributions that have opened new fields of research or have advanced concepts in a particular biomedical discipline.

Raymond proposed the concept of a stem cell niche back in 1978.  Recognition for this seminal work comes over 45 years later as he approaches his 99th birthday. At that grand age it is quite remarkable that he is still around to receive this accolade.

The Paterson Laboratories as they were known then assembled a pioneering group of notable haematology researchers and the Paterson Institute became part of Vlogٷ in 2006. Working alongside Ray was Mike Dexter – at the time a postgraduate student – who later became the Director of the Institute and subsequently Director of Wellcome, and Brian Lord, who published over 130 papers and made many scientific break throughs in the of field stem cell biology and haematopoiesis. 

The photo features Ray on the left with colleague and friend Brian, who sadly passed away in 2021. Brian was the father of the current Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, Professor Graham Lord

Ray worked at the Holt Radium Institute, later renamed the Paterson Laboratories after the first Director, Professor Ralston Paterson, until 1985 when he ‘retired’ to become a farmer in West Wales, where he still lives.

The new Paterson Building is on the same site as the original Paterson Laboratories, next to the Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

“I am thrilled that Drs. Schofield, Kimble, and Spradling have been selected to receive the Wiley Prize for their discovery of the stem cell niche. This niche is a cellular microenvironment that maintains stem cells in their naive state and prevents them from differentiating. Their pioneering discovery, made by studying bone marrow stem cells and stem cells in the reproductive organs of C. elegans and Drosophila, has revealed how stem cells are regulated during human development and tissue maintenance,” said Professor Titia de Lange of Rockefeller University and Chair of the Wiley Prize awards jury.

Among the many distinguished recipients of the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences, thirteen have gone on to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and two have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

“The Wiley Foundation honors research that not only offers breakthrough solutions to existing problems in biomedical sciences, but also fuels future discoveries,” said Deborah Wiley, Chair of the Wiley Foundation. “The work of the 2024 Wiley Prize recipients truly upholds this mission, laying the foundation for today’s life-changing discoveries in the field of stem cell biology.”

This year’s award will be presented at the Wiley Prize lecture on 5 April 2024, although Ray will not be able to attend given his age.

Article credited to Gill Campbell, CRUK MI

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Mon, 18 Mar 2024 09:01:05 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/b9acdde6-1149-494a-9f97-ca7c5fd0eb46/500_dadandrayhighres.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/b9acdde6-1149-494a-9f97-ca7c5fd0eb46/dadandrayhighres.jpg?10000
Living in the North of England increases risk of death from alcohol, drugs and suicide /discover/news/living-in-the-north-of-england-increases-risk-of-death-from-alcohol-drugs-and-suicide/ /discover/news/living-in-the-north-of-england-increases-risk-of-death-from-alcohol-drugs-and-suicide/624060People living in the North of England and in coastal areas are more likely to die from ‘death of despair’, according to new University of Manchester-led research.

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People living in the North of England and in coastal areas are more likely to die from ‘death of despair’, according to new University of Manchester-led research.

The new analysis shows that between 2019 and 2021, 46,200 people lost their lives due to Death of Despair in England – the equivalent of 42 people every day.

However, in the North East of England more than twice as many people lost their lives due to Deaths of Despair compared to London.

Deaths of Despair is a collective term for deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide, which tend to occur much more frequently in socially deprived communities.

The study, led by academics from Health Equity North (HEN), Vlogٷ and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) examined local authority data to identify geographical trends and risk factors that contribute to these kind of deaths.

The analysis found that northern regions and coastal areas of England are experiencing a much higher burden of mortality from these avoidable causes.

Out of the 20 local authority areas that experience the highest rates of Deaths of Despair, 16 are in the North, and all of the top 10 areas are in the North.

Conversely, none of the 20 local authorities with the lowest rates of Deaths of Despair are in the North.

The analysis also looked at associated factors that predict the risk of these kinds of deaths; living in the North was the strongest predictor. Local authorities with higher proportions of unemployment, white British ethnicity, people living alone, economic inactivity, employment in elementary occupations, and people living in urban areas had higher rates of Deaths of Despair.

The study found that:

  • On average, 14.8 per 100,000 more people die from Deaths of Despair in the North compared to the rest of England
  • Even after accounting for multiple social and economic factors, living in the North of England was associated with a 5.8 per 100,000 increase in Deaths of Despair rate
  • More than twice as many people died from Deaths of Despair in the North East of England than they did in London (54.7 per 100,000 and 25.1 per 100,000 respectively)
  • The highest rate of Deaths of Despair in England (at local authority level) is in Blackpool – almost 2.5 times the national average
  • Three areas in England, all in the North, experienced more than double the average Deaths of Despair – Blackpool (83.8 in 100,000 deaths), Middlesbrough (71.6 per 100,000 deaths) and Hartlepool (70.5 per 100,000 deaths)
  • Alcohol-specific deaths made up almost half of Deaths of Despair in England, accounting for 44.1% of all such deaths
  • Deaths of Despair accounted for 2.9% of all deaths in England
  • Deaths of Despair were highest among people aged 45-54 (55 per 100,000)
  • Deaths of Despair accounted for 2 in 5 deaths in people aged 25-29 (41.1% of all deaths)
  • Coastal local authorities had a significantly higher average Deaths of Despair rate than inland local authorities (41.6 per 100,000 compared to 31.5 per 100,000)

The study is believed to be the first of its kind to explore geographical patterning and contributing causes of deaths of despair in England.

The researchers are calling on government to prioritise preventative policies which address the longstanding inequalities across England, with fair funding allocation distributed according to need.

Christine Camacho, lead author and PhD Fellow NIHR ARC-GM, said: “Our study shows that some of the risk factors of deaths of despair have a more pronounced impact in the North of England, where inequalities in health and wealth are persistent and have widened during recent decades.

“As well as specific public health interventions to prevent deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide, we need to move further and faster with Levelling Up in England to tackle the underlying inequalities which are leading people to die from despair.”

, Co-Academic Director at Health Equity North, and Senior Lecturer in Health Economics at Vlogٷ, said: “Time and time again, we see research exposing regional inequity with the North of England often being hit the hardest. Unsurprisingly, the findings of this study further highlight the persistent health inequalities in northern regions. This can’t be ignored – it is not acceptable that more than twice as many people in some deprived communities in the North are dying due to deaths of this nature.

“This research provides policymakers with a novel insight into the associated social factors of deaths of despair, which can help when developing comprehensive strategies that not only target specific risk factors but also consider the intricate relationships among these causes, contributing to more effective prevention and intervention efforts.”

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Fri, 15 Mar 2024 09:00:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_thenorth.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/thenorth.jpg?10000
Vlogٷ bags honour at annual Bionow Awards /discover/news/the-university-of-manchester-bags-honour-at-annual-bionow-awards/ /discover/news/the-university-of-manchester-bags-honour-at-annual-bionow-awards/624027Vlogٷ has won Partnership and Collaboration Award at the prestigious annual Bionow Awards 2023

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Vlogٷ has won Partnership and Collaboration Award at the prestigious annual Bionow Awards 2023

A highlight of the life sciences calendar, the awards dinner was held at the Concorde Conference Centre on 7th March, with 339 attendees gathering for an evening of celebration and achievement.

According to the judges,  The University received the Partnership & Collaboration Award for being able to demonstrate a collaboration with their more than 15-year skin health and ageing research partnership with Boots.

The collaboration enabled new discoveries in skin biology to be incorporated into novel commercial products via a robust, clinical screening programme.

It has also brought several million pounds of investment into North-West bioscience, producing 100+ scientific publications, 10 patents and new employment opportunities.

Welcoming the award    said: “We are very honoured to receive this prestigious award from BioNow.

“Our partnership with Boots is built on a shared aim to uncover new insights into skin biology and to apply this knowledge to repairing accumulated damage.”

People in the image from Vlogٷ: , , Michael Sherratt,  . And from Boots: Vickie Wright, Jo Watson, Roboh Borke, Steph Franklin

Dr Abigail Langton said: “The acknowledgment from Bionow of our partnership with Boots is a significant achievement, and we're excited about the recent five-year contract renewal, extending our collaboration into its 20th year”.

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Thu, 14 Mar 2024 15:37:23 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/7ffce750-e27e-4048-812d-02c99ae7ff2b/500_240307-bionow-awards-the-vain-carl-sukonik-2121.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/7ffce750-e27e-4048-812d-02c99ae7ff2b/240307-bionow-awards-the-vain-carl-sukonik-2121.jpg?10000
Young people seeing GPs for mental health problems have low ongoing contact, finds study /discover/news/young-people-seeing-gps-for-mental-health-problems-have-low-ongoing-contact-finds-study/ /discover/news/young-people-seeing-gps-for-mental-health-problems-have-low-ongoing-contact-finds-study/623779Most children and adolescents in England presenting to their GPs with psychiatric symptoms have low or declining rates of ongoing contact, according to a study led by University of Manchester researchers.

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Most children and adolescents in England presenting to their GPs with psychiatric symptoms have low or declining rates of ongoing contact, according to a study led by University of Manchester researchers.

The findings, published in Lancet Psychiatry today (13/03/2024) and funded by the and Wellcome, could indicate that most children are in a low risk group and won’t require long-term support, providing reassurance for children and their parents and caregivers.

However, the figures might also reflect an unmet need for some children and adolescents.

The study tracked the outcomes of around 370,000  3-18 year olds over five years using anonymised primary care health records from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink Aurum database.

All of the included children had symptoms of a possible psychiatric condition, such as depression, anxiety, Autism or ADHD. The research tracked the children’s contact with healthcare services to find out what happened over the ensuing five years.

Almost 208,000 (51%) of the children and adolescents who presented with psychological symptoms to general practitioners had few subsequent healthcare contacts over the next five years and were very unlikely to be prescribed medications, or referred to specialist services for their mental health.

The largest of seven groups identified by the researchers, these children and adolescents also had the lowest risk of future hospitalisation for either self-harm or suicide and were more likely to be younger, male, and from non-White ethnicities.

The next largest group (13% of the overall sample) had some ongoing contacts with the GP but didn’t receive medications. The other groups identified had either declining rates of contact over five years, or prolonged high levels of contact with GPs or specialists, or escalating rates of contact. Each of these groups made up less than 10% of the overall sample.

Children and adolescents from Black, South Asian, and other non-White ethnicities had lower rates of ongoing GP contact and there were similar, less pronounced differences for mixed-ethnicity children and adolescents.

The findings are published as increasing numbers of children are seeking help for mental health symptoms, as well as ADHD and autism. The results provide some insight into what happens next for these children and suggests that for most of the young people, the problems they experience will be transient, or that they may receive the support they need outside of medical settings.

Lead author Dr Morwenna Senior from Vlogٷ said: “Our findings shows that a majority of children and adolescents with mental health symptoms have low or declining rates of ongoing contact with GPs and specialists.

“Increasing numbers of young people are experiencing mental health problems. At the same time, more children and families are seeking support from medical professionals for mental health conditions, ADHD and Autism.

“While this is concerning, previous research also suggests that for many young people, the prognosis is good and symptoms are likely to improve over time and this also fits with our findings.

“Though it’s not clear if a proportion of this figure is because children are not receiving the medical support they need, this study can provide some reassurance to parents and children that many, if not most children will get better. It is also reassuring that the children in the low-contact group were the least likely to be hospitalised for self-harm, or to die by suicide.”

Dr Senior added: “Future research is needed to understand whether children and adolescents with low-contact trajectories have unmet needs, that we are not measuring, and whether they receive further help elsewhere. Linked datasets can be used to examine relationships between different groups of children and adolescents presenting with  psychological symptoms, and their educational, social, as well as clinical outcomes.

She said: “We argue that services should differentiate between children and adolescents for whom early support might prevent deterioration from those whose symptoms are likely to resolve without further help.

“That could usefully inform changes to service configurations and preventive practice in services where resources are often stretched.

“For children whose problems are likely to resolve, reassurance and psychoeducation may be enough; whereas, for others, more intensive interventions might prevent deterioration in symptoms. We hope that our results will help distinguish these groups and better allocate limited resources.”

Dr Senior said: “These findings also add to substantial evidence that people’s experiences and use of health care for psychiatric conditions in the UK varies according to ethnicity.

“However, in our sample, it is difficult to determine the reasons for these differences. It might be that there were differences in how helpful children and their families found the support they were offered; or there may be differences in how and where people access support. For example, support within education or from family networks could play a bigger role for Black and South Asian children and their families.

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Celebrating Entrepreneurial Talent with the Venture Further Awards 2024 /discover/news/celebrating-entrepreneurial-talent-with-the-venture-further-awards-2024/ /discover/news/celebrating-entrepreneurial-talent-with-the-venture-further-awards-2024/627102The Masood Entrepreneurship Centre is excited to announce the finalists for this year's Venture Further Awards.

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The Masood Entrepreneurship Centre is excited to announce the finalists for Venture Further Awards 2024, the UK’s leading university-led start-up competition, with applications open for all current students and recent graduates at Vlogٷ.

The Venture Further Awards are dedicated to identifying and nurturing innovative business proposals that showcase the greatest potential for success – contributing to economic growth, social progress and sustainability. The competition spans across five categories: Healthcare, Services, Technology, Environment, and Social.

The annual competition, offering a substantial £100,000 prize fund, has seen a record-breaking number of 143 applications this year, marking a 34% increase from the previous year, showcasing a diverse range of innovative, research-informed and disruptive business ideas.

In the Environment category, we have finalists presenting various sustainable solutions. Nayab Raza's ALGAVERSE proposes low-cost, microalgae-based biomass biofertilizers for agricultural lands. OptiSpark, pitched by Timothy Capper, aims to use buildings as energy storage units. Kieron O'Sullivan's ReMake Materials is a marketplace platform connecting material suppliers with users needing leftover stock materials. Josiah Edebiri's UrbanWatt offers state-of-the-art charging stations in urban areas for low-power electric vehicles.

The Healthcare category sees innovations in medical technology and treatments. Liam Johnson's MouseAble presents a method of recording ECGs from free-moving mice without surgical implants. Steven Mayers' Zeus Biologics Ltd plans to manufacture recombinant proteins for the research market. Joel Yupanqui Mieles's biomedical engineering business offers innovative solutions for repairing and enhancing damaged skin tissues post-tattooing. Airyn by Tunde Oremulé aims to revolutionise rhinitis treatment.

The Services category features ideas targeting a wide range of sectors. Moradeke Orekoya's Skinpli plans to revolutionise the African skincare landscape with telemedicine, personalised skincare, expert guidance, and community engagement. Xiang Zheng's PurFetch is a one-stop mobile app that brings pets and pet owners together. Subodh Agarwal's TFM Overseas Education Consultants guides Indian students in pursuing master's degrees abroad. Mark Kashumba's UGAFARM aims to help African communities grow fresh, healthy food using environmentally-friendly farming techniques.

In the Social category, finalists focus on addressing critical global and local social issues. Muhammad Asad Butt's BasicX presents a revolutionary approach to address period poverty and empower women in Pakistan. Cesare Giulio Ardito's I3Italy CIC is a resource hub for Italians in England. Danielle Fatunla's The Onyx Group is a tech-based organisation for black students providing mentorship, consultancy and opportunities. Chanel Ehi-Palmer's hair care brand aims to narrow the 'texture gap' within the hair industry.

The Technology category sees Harvey Lowe's Arcube proposing customised traveller loyalty programs. Grigorii Rodionov's Flashaid is a mobile application designed to revolutionise emergency medical response. Ed Engleback's Altaia is a drone manufacturer focused on creating fully customised high-performance drones at low cost. Jakub Zemek's Aerospace Group 7 offers environmentally friendly drone solutions.

The Venture Further Awards celebrates these entrepreneurial talents and their potential to make a significant impact in their respective fields. The winners will be announced at the Venture Further Awards Dinner on Wednesday, 8 May 2024.

Our winners consistently strive to make a significant impact in their respective fields. Many have leveraged their initial success to grow into larger-scale businesses. For example, Scott Martin's venture, Re:course (AI), from our 2018 cohort, notably secured $4.3 million in seed funding last year. Also from the 2018 winners, Sid Sedhi, founder of 'Specsart', continues to innovate in the eyewear industry. His Bury-based company now ships their products worldwide. Winning the competition, he recalls, was a "turning point for Specsart,[…] one of the most important milestones in our journey".

Most recently, from our 2022 social category winners, we highlight Alternative Football. Co-founded by Beth Barnes, a PhD student from the University’s Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, the Alternative Football League (AF League) is now the North West’s only fully inclusive football league for women, non-binary and transgender individuals.  UK-registered MEC supported startups have received £29.5m in equity fundraising in the last 6 months.

At the , we are the hub for all entrepreneurial activities for students, recent graduates, and staff at Vlogٷ. Recognising the vital role of entrepreneurial skills in the modern world, our mission is to provide students with abundant opportunities that aid in gaining invaluable experience. This positions them to either secure their desired job or kick-start their own venture.

Beyond our academic programs, we offer a wide array of co-curricular activities. These include bootcamps, competitions, speaker events, workshops, and start-up support programmes. All these are aimed at students who are eager to learn, develop or launch their entrepreneurial journey. Becoming a part of our thriving entrepreneurial community.

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Mon, 11 Mar 2024 15:06:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/fb5b367c-3e9e-4b70-97f8-36dc02898db3/500_vfagraphic.png?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/fb5b367c-3e9e-4b70-97f8-36dc02898db3/vfagraphic.png?10000
Climate action group launches walking route to combat air pollution /discover/news/climate-action-group-launches-walking-route-to-combat-air-pollution/ /discover/news/climate-action-group-launches-walking-route-to-combat-air-pollution/623447Campaign group Ardwick Climate Action, with the support of University of Manchester researchers, are to launch  a green route on 12 March where local people can avoid the excessive pollution caused by motor vehicles.

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Campaign group Ardwick Climate Action, with the support of University of Manchester researchers, are to launch  a green route on 12 March where local people can avoid the excessive pollution caused by motor vehicles.

The scheme close to Kale Street will help combat the area’s disproportionate exposure to air pollution, improve the health and wellbeing of local people and improve public safety away from major roads.

Nine signs  put up along the various entry points to the attractive 15 minute walk  will contain digitally interactive QR codes, which when scanned with a smartphone will direct the public to various webpages.

The pages contain information about local ecology and how plant species support Manchester's biodiversity.

They also details the history of the site and the local community groups that manage it.

Daniell Musaheb, Ardwick Climate Action said: “Green Routes represent community action directly tackling our community’s issues, with a need to address air pollution and public safety at its core.

“We are honoured at the support the project has received from our partners which has undeniably contributed to its success.

“We hope to see further tangible outcomes for our community and that this is the first step in realising a fairer balance in Manchester.

“Ardwick is disproportionately affected by air pollution, and the public safety of local people is compromised due to the lack of infrastructure to support green transportation.”

To  celebrate the launch, the group are organising lavender planting. Representatives from a range of groups including Clean Cities, Friends of the Earth Manchester, Asthma and Lung UK, Mums for Lungs and Living Streets UK will talk about air pollution, road safety and green routes in Manchester.

And a guided walk from the A6 will show participants  why the Green Route is so badly needed.

Since 2022, ACA has conducted in partnership with Vlogٷ which showed that local communities are an important way understand where local sources of pollution are and barriers to less polluting forms of travel.

One of the researchers, said: “Collaborative working between local communities and our researchers was vital to understand the barriers for active travel and the issues that most impacted residents.

“By engaging with communities we can promote awareness of the risks of pollution to health and do more meaningful research that best meets the needs of those most impacted by pollution.

She added: “This research highlighted real issues encountered by residents of high levels of pollution and dangerous roads with fast moving traffic.

“There is a lack of crossings across busy roads which makes it very hard for residents to get around safely.

“We are so excited about the green route and we really hope it makes a difference to residents for their health and wellbeing as they can avoid some of the traffic and pollution and enjoy the incredible biodiversity created by the planting done by ACA.”

Read more about the research

Caption: Ardwick Climate Action’s aims are to regenerate and rewild areas for the community, offering a series of green spaces that serve to educate and engage local people.

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Mon, 11 Mar 2024 07:42:07 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/33ffa7b8-4b4e-4905-b4da-0b15795714ed/500_ardwickclimateactionplanting.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/33ffa7b8-4b4e-4905-b4da-0b15795714ed/ardwickclimateactionplanting.jpg?10000
AI research gives unprecedented insight into heart genetics and structure /discover/news/ai-research-gives-unprecedented-insight-into-heart-genetics-and-structure/ /discover/news/ai-research-gives-unprecedented-insight-into-heart-genetics-and-structure/623338A ground-breaking research study has used AI to understand the genetic underpinning of the heart’s left ventricle, using three-dimensional images of the organ. It was led by scientists at Vlogٷ, with collaborators from the University of Leeds (UK), the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (Santa Fe, Argentina), and IBM Research (Almaden, CA).

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A ground-breaking research study has used AI to understand the genetic underpinning of the heart’s left ventricle, using three-dimensional images of the organ. It was led by scientists at Vlogٷ, with collaborators from the University of Leeds (UK), the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (Santa Fe, Argentina), and IBM Research (Almaden, CA).

The highly interdisciplinary team used cutting-edge unsupervised deep learning to analyse over 50,000 three-dimensional magnetic resonance images of the heart from UK Biobank, a world-leading biomedical database and research resource.

The study, published in the leading journal , focused on uncovering the intricate genetic underpinnings of cardiovascular traits. The research team conducted comprehensive genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and transcriptome-wide association studies (TWAS), resulting in the discovery of 49 novel genetic locations showing an association with morphological cardiac traits with high statistical significance, as well as 25 additional loci with suggestive evidence.  

The study's findings have significant implications for cardiology and precision medicine. By elucidating the genetic basis of cardiovascular traits, the research paves the way for the development of targeted therapies and interventions for individuals at risk of heart disease.

The research was funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), The Royal Society, the British Heart Foundation (BHF), and the Argentinean National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) in an interdisciplinary collaboration involving a RAEng Chair, two BHF Professors, and an IBM Fellow.

The research was directed by , Director of the , the Bicentennial Turing Chair for Computational Medicine, and a Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies. The first author was Rodrigo Bonazzola, a PhD candidate, jointly co-supervised by Prof Frangi, (CONICET, Argentina) (IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist at IBM Research).

Prof Frangi said: “This is an achievement which once would have seemed like science fiction, but we show that it is completely possible to use AI to understand the genetic underpinning of the left ventricle, just by looking at three-dimensional images of the heart.

“Previous studies have only investigated association of traditional clinical phenotypes, such as left ventricular mass or stroke volume, limiting the number of gene associations detected for a given study size. However, this study used AI not only to delineate the cardiac chambers from three-dimensional medical images at pace but also to unveil novel genetic loci associated with various cardiovascular deep phenotypes.”

He added: “This research exemplifies the power of multidisciplinary teams and international collaborations, bolstered by UK Biobank's valuable data. By marrying genetic data with cardiac imaging through advanced machine learning, we've gained novel insights into the factors shaping cardiovascular health.”

Early career scientist and rising star, Bonazzola, the study's lead author said: “Our research reveals genes that harbour mutations known to be detrimental to other organisms, yet the impact of common variations within these genes on cardiac structure across the human population had not been previously documented. For instance, the STRN gene, recognised for its harmful variants leading to dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs, exhibits a common variant in humans that seems to induce a subtle but detectable change in mitral orientation.”

Dr Ferrante said: “The study's core achievement is a robust method based on geometric deep learning for large-scale genetic and cardiac imaging data analysis, leading to ground-breaking genetic insights related to heart structure. These discoveries could revolutionize our approach to disease understanding, drug development, and precision medicine in cardiology. The study's thorough analysis and ensemble-based methods also enhance the discovery rates and the reliability of our findings.”

Prof Keavney, BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vlogٷ, emphasised the transformative methodology. He said: “Employing cutting-edge deep learning to integrate genetic and imaging data has shed light on the genetic underpinnings of heart structure. This approach is a beacon for future organ studies and understanding genetic influences on organ anatomy.”

Prof Plein, BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Imaging in Leeds, said: "Cardiovascular MRI plays a crucial role in understanding disease phenotypes, allowing us to uncover genetic associations that help stratify cardiovascular diseases, ultimately leading to better treatments and precision medicine."

Professor Frangi added: “Our publication marks a significant stride in correlating deep cardiovascular imaging traits with genetic data. It paves the way for revolutionary progress in cardiovascular research, clinical practices, and tailored patient care.”

Professor Bryan Williams, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This new research shows the huge power of big data linking genes to heart structure. Machine learning has made this possible by transforming how we process, analyse and gain insights from big data to tackle the biggest questions in cardiovascular research. This pioneering new method has uncovered many more genes that influence the structure and function of the heart, which will lead to new insights into why abnormal structure and function can lead to heart disease.

“Heart and circulatory diseases are still devastating millions of lives each year in the UK. AI could unlock more information about the genes that contribute to the structure of the heart. In future this could lead to real improvements for patients, including the development of tailored, precision treatments for people with heart problems.”

The paper Unsupervised ensemble-based phenotyping enhances discoverability of genes related to left-ventricular morphology is published in

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The University Ranks as a Global Leader for Digital Health Citation Impact /discover/news/the-university-ranks-as-a-global-leader-for-digital-health-citation-impact/ /discover/news/the-university-ranks-as-a-global-leader-for-digital-health-citation-impact/624031Vlogٷ has been recognised as one of the Top 25 institutions in the world with the highest citation impact on Digital Health. The University secured 4th place worldwide according to an analysis from – a leading global information services provider, at Times Higher Education’s Digital Health Summit.

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Vlogٷ has been recognised as one of the Top 25 institutions in the world with the highest citation impact on Digital Health. The University secured 4th place worldwide according to an analysis from – a leading global information services provider, at Times Higher Education’s Digital Health Summit.

The evolution of solutions is creating new opportunities to transform patient care and personal health outcomes. From remote monitoring and wearables, to artificial intelligence and machine learning, digital technologies are enabling health data collection and analysis and offering new insights, diagnosis and therapies.

Here is an overview of the Citation Impact on Digital Health Top 25 Rankings. The complete list can be accessed in ’s article.

Rank

Institution

Digital health papers in the
Web of Science

Citations

Percentage of papers in the top
10 per cent by citation

1

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

70

1,444

28.57

2

51

532

17.65

3

50

1,011

26.00

4

75

1,582

32.00

5

284

4,885

28.52

 

Research into digital health has grown massively nowadays, whereas the scale of growth in digital health research is remarkable. Based on Clarivate data, publications on digital health topics – which include everything from wearable devices and mobile apps to AI analytics, telemedicine and 3D printing of drugs – have risen nearly 70-fold between 2013 and 2022, from a mere 39 Web of Science-indexed papers to 2,641 – while UK researchers were involved in 20 per cent of all papers.

The statistics demonstrate that the University currently has 75 digital health papers in the Web of Science, 1582 citations, 32 per cent of papers in the top 10 per cent by citation, scoring 2.50 category normalised citation impact (CNCI). It showcases Manchester’s consistent efforts to advance digital health research that benefits the public.

Previously, the immense volumes of medical data from numerous wearable devices or mobile phones might have overwhelmed even the most data-savvy researcher. However, artificial intelligence now enables researchers to effectively navigate such vast amounts of information without requiring advanced coding skills. Likewise, hospitals and health centres worldwide are sharing patient records in a manner that allows algorithms to detect trends, including identifying emerging pandemics at their onset.

Recent University of Manchester research, alongside Oxford University and Cancer Research UK used Artificial Intelligence to reveal a new form of aggressive prostate cancer which could revolutionise how the disease is diagnosed and treated in the future.

For more information:

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Next round of Researcher to Innovator (R2I) launched /discover/news/next-round-of-researcher-to-innovator-r2i-launched/ /discover/news/next-round-of-researcher-to-innovator-r2i-launched/622756Information Sessions 20th-21st MarchFollowing the success of R2I, we are pleased to announce the programme will be running again from April 2024.

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Following the success of the Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme inspiring early career researchers to translate research to impact we are pleased to announce the programme will be running again from April 2024.

R2I is a bespoke entrepreneurship training programme for final-year PhD students, PDRAs and early-career researchers from across all faculties with ambitions to develop commercial ventures or to create impact from their academic studies.

The programme includes a series of interactive personal and professional development sessions, which introduce the concept of commercialisation, equipping researchers with strategies to take ideas forward and discover new pathways to funding.

Read more about the researchers from cohort 1 supported to further their ideas.

and register now to attend one of our short to hear more about the programme and how to apply.

Key Dates

Cohort 2:

  • Introductory Sessions: In person and online across 20th and 21st  March 
  • Applications Open: 21st March
  • Application Deadline: 1st April
  • Programme: 16th April - 13th June 2024

 

The Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme has been coordinated by the University’s Innovation Academy, which brings together knowledge, expertise and routes to facilitate the commercialisation of research. It is a joint venture between the Business Engagement Team, the and the

 

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Mon, 04 Mar 2024 17:09:59 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/63d90ab5-cc45-4434-a9e9-19feeaf07782/500_1920-researchertoinnovatorrgbcopy.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/63d90ab5-cc45-4434-a9e9-19feeaf07782/1920-researchertoinnovatorrgbcopy.jpg?10000
Artificial Intelligence reveals prostate cancer is not just one disease /discover/news/artificial-intelligence-reveals-prostate-cancer-is-not-just-one-disease/ /discover/news/artificial-intelligence-reveals-prostate-cancer-is-not-just-one-disease/622520Artificial Intelligence has helped scientists reveal a new form of aggressive prostate cancer which could revolutionise how the disease is diagnosed and treated in the future.

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Artificial Intelligence has helped scientists reveal a new form of aggressive prostate cancer which could revolutionise how the disease is diagnosed and treated in the future.

A new Cancer Research UK-funded study has revealed that prostate cancer, which affects one in eight men in their lifetime, includes two different subtypes termed evotypes.

The discovery was made by an international team led by the , and Vlogٷ, who applied AI (artificial intelligence) on data from DNA to identify two different subtypes affecting the prostate.

The team hope their findings could save thousands of lives in future and revolutionise how prostate cancer is diagnosed and treated. Ultimately, it could provide tailored treatments to each individual patient according to a genetic test which will also be delivered using AI.

According to , prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men in the UK with around 52,000 cases a year. Dr Rupal Mistry, the charity’s senior Science Engagement Manager, said:

“The work published today by this global consortium of researchers has the potential to make a real difference to people affected by prostate cancer. The more we understand about cancer the better chance we have of developing treatments to beat it. We are proud to have helped fund this cutting-edge work, which has laid the foundations for personalised treatments for people with prostate cancer, allowing more people to beat their disease.”

The ground-breaking research, which involved additional funding from Prostate Cancer Research and involved scientists from the University of Oxford the University of Manchester, the University of East Anglia and the Institute of Cancer Research, London, highlights how a prostate cancer diagnosis can affect physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

Lead researcher Dr Dan Woodcock, of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences at the University of Oxford, said: “Our research demonstrates that prostate tumours evolve along multiple pathways, leading to two distinct disease types. 

“This understanding is pivotal as it allows us to classify tumours based on how the cancer evolves rather than solely on individual gene mutations or expression patterns.” 

The researchers worked together as part of international consortium, called The Pan Prostate Cancer Group, set up by scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The University of East Anglia to analyse genetic data from thousands of prostate cancer samples across nine countries. 

Crucially, the team's collaboration with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) aims to develop a genetic test that, when combined with conventional staging and grading, can provide a more precise prognosis for each patient, allowing tailored treatment decisions. 

The researchers used AI to study changes in the DNA of prostate cancer samples (using whole genome sequencing) from 159 patients. 

They identified two distinct cancer groups among these patients using an AI technique called neural networks. These two groups were confirmed by using two other mathematical approaches applied to different aspects of the data. This finding was validated in other independent datasets from Canada and Australia. 

They went on to integrate all the information to generate an evolutionary tree showing how the two subtypes of prostate cancer develop, ultimately converging into two distinct disease types termed ‘evotypes’. 

of Manchester Cancer Research Centre, who led the study, explained: “This realisation is what enables us to distinguish the disease types. This hasn’t been done before because it’s more complicated than HER2+ in breast cancer, for instance. 

"This understanding is pivotal as it allows us to classify tumours based on their evolutionary trajectory rather than solely on individual gene mutations or expression patterns." 

Researcher Prof Colin Cooper, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, highlighted that while prostate cancer is responsible for a large proportion of all male cancer deaths, it is more commonly a disease men die with rather than from. This means that unnecessary treatment can often be avoided, sparing men from side-effects such as incontinence and impotence. 

He added: “This study is really important because until now, we thought that prostate cancer was just one type of disease. But it is only now, with advancements in artificial intelligence, that we have been able to show that there are actually two different subtypes at play. 

“We hope that the findings will not only save lives through better diagnosis and tailored treatments in the future, but they may help researchers working in other cancer fields better understand other types of cancer too.” 

Dr Naomi Elster, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer Research, said: “We simply don’t know enough about what a prostate cancer diagnosis means at present – there are many men who have disease which is or may become aggressive and being able to treat aggressive disease more effectively is critical. But on the other side of the coin are the too many men who live with side effects of cancer treatment they may never have needed. 

“These results could be the beginning of us being able to take the same ‘divide and conquer’ approach to prostate cancer that has worked in other diseases, such as breast cancer.” 

Professor Ros Eeles, Professor of Oncogenetics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Oncology and Cancer Genetics at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This study has utilised the enormous genomic dataset from The Pan Prostate Cancer Group – a powerhouse of information about prostate cancer from around the world. These results will hopefully lead to better treatments for patients, demonstrating the importance of data sharing and team science.”

The study - ‘’ is published online in the journal Cell Genomics.

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Northern Gritstone and Parkwalk Advisors make £3.5 million Seed Round investment in ground-breaking computational medicine company adsilico /discover/news/northern-gritstone-and-parkwalk-advisors-make-35-million-seed-round-investment-in-ground-breaking-computational-medicine-company-adsilico/ /discover/news/northern-gritstone-and-parkwalk-advisors-make-35-million-seed-round-investment-in-ground-breaking-computational-medicine-company-adsilico/622138Northern Gritstone, the investment business focused on science and technology-enabled businesses in the North of England, along with Parkwalk Advisors, have announced a combined £3.5 million seed round investment into adsilico Limited (‘adsilico’), a spin-out from the University of Leeds with co-founders from the Universities of Leeds and Manchester.

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Northern Gritstone, the investment business focused on science and technology-enabled businesses in the North of England, along with Parkwalk Advisors, have today announced a combined £3.5 million seed round investment into (‘adsilico’), a spin-out from the University of Leeds with co-founders from the Universities of Leeds and Manchester.

In-silico trials (ISTs) use modelling and simulation to produce scientific evidence of device performance and safety, before testing in human clinical trials. Based on research funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering at the University of Leeds’ internationally renowned Schools of Medicine and Computing, adsilico has developed a ground-breaking IST technique that combines multiple data sources and uses generative AI across heterogeneous data sources to create synthetic populations on a scale ideal for clinical trials. adsilico’s solution will allow medical device manufacturers to accelerate R&D, reduce the need for animal experimentation, and augment costly human trials.

Northern Gritstone’s investment of £2 million sits alongside co-investor Parkwalk Advisors investment of £1.5 million. The combined investment will be used to fund essential development in adsilico and build the team.

, Bicentennial Turing Chair in Computational Medicine at Vlogٷ and Founder of adsilico, said: “Medical devices follow a lengthy evaluation with a tiny amount of scientific evidence currently derived from computer modelling and simulation. The cost is ever-increasing, delaying lifesaving benefits to patients. Northern Gritstone’s and Parkwalk’s investment and support will enable adsilico to offer a scalable solution to the medical device market to produce evidence on an unprecedented scale”.

Duncan Johnson, CEO of Northern Gritstone, said: “Computational modelling has the potential to revolutionise the MedTech industry and reduce the risks to humans. Northern Gritstone is delighted to support adsilico’s team, who once again demonstrate that great science and technology-enabled businesses are being created in the North of England.”

Moray Wright, CEO of Parkwalk Advisors, said: “We are proud to be backing adsilico through this seed funding round. adsilico’s pioneering approach to in-silico trials has potential to significantly accelerate the pace of innovation in medical device development. It’s fantastic to see this university spin-out take another step forward on its vision to bring safer and more efficient medical devices”.

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds, said: “This funding will help to redefine the development of medical devices, enhancing performance and safety with more certainty and speed, and most importantly, prior to human testing”.

“It is a further testament to Leeds’ pioneering approach and strength in driving innovation to accelerate the adoption of new health technologies, delivering improvements and impact directly to healthcare professionals and patients.”

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Tue, 27 Feb 2024 10:20:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/4f690bdf-fac4-4935-839e-1de700d979f6/500_adsilico-pr1-crop1.png?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/4f690bdf-fac4-4935-839e-1de700d979f6/adsilico-pr1-crop1.png?10000
Research progress reveals faster, more accurate blood flow simulation to revolutionise treatment of vascular diseases /discover/news/research-progress-reveals-faster-more-accurate-blood-flow-simulation-to-revolutionise-treatment-of-vascular-diseases/ /discover/news/research-progress-reveals-faster-more-accurate-blood-flow-simulation-to-revolutionise-treatment-of-vascular-diseases/621487A review has shed light on the groundbreaking advancements in the simulation of blood flow within the intricate vascular system that could transform medical treatment and device innovation for vascular diseases.

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A review has shed light on the groundbreaking advancements in the simulation of blood flow within the intricate vascular system that could transform medical treatment and device innovation for vascular diseases.

Modelling vascular flow is crucial for understanding and treating vascular diseases, but traditional methods are labour and computationally intensive. The new research, published in the Interface, evaluates state-of-the-art methods that accelerate the simulation process while retaining the level of accuracy required for such crucial applications.

The researchers, led by Vlogٷ, found that Reduced Order Modelling (ROM) - a technique for reducing the computational complexity - can be used selectively to accurately accelerate various types of vascular flow modelling problems.

They also found that Machine Learning methods can be used to overcome limitations in ROM techniques or to provide entirely new simulation techniques that can tackle a wide array of vascular flow modelling problems.

The findings have the capacity to revolutionise the vascular medical field.

The review also highlights the significance of these accelerated simulation methods for in-silico trials, which are virtual simulations integral to the development and regulatory approval of new medical devices. Using these simulation acceleration techniques, in-silico trials can be conducted with unprecedented speed and accuracy, reducing reliance on conventional clinical trials that are often expensive and time consuming. 

The research also advocates for a concerted effort to establish a benchmarking framework for simulation acceleration methods. This initiative would establish standardised metrics for evaluating precision and speed-up across different simulation approaches, encouraging transparency and comparability in this rapidly advancing field.

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Wed, 21 Feb 2024 15:35:47 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/aaff5cea-2f33-4213-a337-65e2b42a06af/500_vascularflowmodellingexemplarintracranialaneurysmflowtreatmentandthrombosis.png?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/aaff5cea-2f33-4213-a337-65e2b42a06af/vascularflowmodellingexemplarintracranialaneurysmflowtreatmentandthrombosis.png?10000
Early Career Researchers contributing to the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem /discover/news/early-career-researchers-contributing-to-the-entrepreneurial-ecosystem/ /discover/news/early-career-researchers-contributing-to-the-entrepreneurial-ecosystem/621979Twenty early career researchers recently completed the Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme, an exciting entrepreneurship training programme for researchers with ambitions to develop commercial ventures and create impact from their academic studies.

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Twenty early career researchers recently completed the Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme, an exciting entrepreneurship training programme for researchers with ambitions to develop commercial ventures and create impact from their academic studies.

The Options Roundabout event on the 19th February was the culmination of the R2I programme which saw our researchers pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs, funders and commercialisation experts. The event which was an opportunity for the cohort to network and celebrate their achievements was hosted in our MEC Enterprise Zone, a dedicated entrepreneurship space in the Alliance Manchester Business School. 

The R2I programme aims to inspire and accelerate the translation of the knowledge created through academic research into products, services or processes to deliver tangible benefit through a series of bespoke workshops and mentoring opportunities. The workshops helped researchers articulate their ideas by taking them through a lean start-up pathway to explore the commercial potential of their research.

The Innovation Enabling Awards were granted to acknowledge the impact and growth potential with early career researchers receiving between £2,000 to £10,000 to further develop the commercial potential of their ideas and businesses.

Aline Miller, Professor of Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Dean for Business Engagement and Innovation, presented the Innovation Enabling Awards to the five winning projects

 

Award Winners

Innovation Enabling Award: £10,000

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NeuWave - AI solutions for rapid offshore renewables transition

Jana Stella (School of Engineering)

 

Innovation Enabling Award: £5,000

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Purple Point- A precise and cheaper option for defeating chlamydia

Jorge A. Servert (School of Biological Sciences)

 

Innovation Enabling Award: £3,000

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Transforming ​the Future of ​Bone Implants

Dr Nazanin Mirhosseini​ (School of Engineering)

Innovation Enabling Award: £2,000

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Roboglove

Dr Anthony Siming Chen (School of Engineering)

Innovation Enabling Award: £2,000

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DISSCO (The Diabetes Severity Score)

Dr Salwa Zghebi (School of Health Sciences)

 

The prize winners will also receive expert support and signposting to regional and national accelerator programmes and all the participants on the programme will have access to further support, mentoring and guidance from internal professional support teams, including the opportunity to build relationships with business engagement, Innovation Factory and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.

 

 

The organisers wish to thank the  Fellowship for their sponsorship of the Innovation Enabling Awards.

logo_Engineers in Business

 

Get Involved

If you are an early career researcher looking for an exciting opportunity to develop your innovative thinking and enhance your understanding of creating and developing impact join the next round of the R2I programme. Find out more about the programme and how to apply in the upcoming for cohort 2 taking place on 20th and 21st March.

 

The Researcher to Innovator (R2I) programme has been coordinated by the University’s Innovation Academy, which brings together knowledge, expertise and routes to facilitate the commercialisation of research. It is a joint venture between the Business Engagement Team, the  and the 

 

R2I Logos

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Wed, 21 Feb 2024 10:18:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/63d90ab5-cc45-4434-a9e9-19feeaf07782/500_1920-researchertoinnovatorrgbcopy.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/63d90ab5-cc45-4434-a9e9-19feeaf07782/1920-researchertoinnovatorrgbcopy.jpg?10000
Largest study on genetic risk for type 2 diabetes published /discover/news/largest-study-on-genetic-risk-for-type-2-diabetes-published/ /discover/news/largest-study-on-genetic-risk-for-type-2-diabetes-published/621203An international study of more than 2.5 million people has identified parts of the genome associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in diverse population groups from across the globe.

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An international study of more than 2.5 million people has identified parts of the genome associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in diverse population groups from across the globe.

The study potentially paves the way for genetically determined predictors of disease complications to allow earlier interventions.

Published in , the study co-led by Professor Andrew Morris from Vlogٷ is a collaboration of more than 350 authors from 130 studies around the world and the largest type 2 diabetes genome-wide association study to date.

The researchers scanned complete sets of DNA (genomes) from 2.5 million people – a sample size almost three times larger than in previous studies – to identify variations in the genetic sequence associated with the development and progression of type 2 diabetes.

More than 400 million people worldwide are living with type 2 diabetes, a condition which occurs when the body is not able to make enough of the hormone insulin, causing the level of sugar in the blood to become too high.

Left untreated, high blood sugar levels can cause serious health problems and complications that affect  the eyes, kidney and nerves. People with type 2 diabetes are also more likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke.

As well as factors such as weight and exercise, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is the most common type of diabetes, is also linked to genetics. Variations of the genetic code can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its complications, which can be passed down through families.

The research team revealed over 600 places in the genome -  a biological blueprint needed for life to exist - which increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, of which 145 had previously been unidentified.

The DNA of more than 2.5 million people were analysed, including 428,452 people who have type 2 diabetes from six different ancestry groups: African American, East Asian, European, Hispanic, South African and South Asian.

Studying a range of ancestry groups ensures that the findings of the research are relevant to diverse populations across the globe, where type 2 diabetes is a major health concern.

For the first time across multiple ancestry groups, the team were also able to generate genetic risk scores associated with developing harmful type 2 diabetes complications such as coronary artery disease and diabetic kidney disease.

Senior co-corresponding author Professor Andrew Morris, Professor of Statistical Genetics at Vlogٷ and the (NIHR) (BRC), said:

“Our work has improved our knowledge of the biological processes that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes and progression to its complications in diverse population groups across the world.

“Better understanding of the genetic causes of the disease has the potential to allow us to predict these complications before they occur and may help put in place early interventions to delay or even prevent these debilitating medical conditions."

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Mon, 19 Feb 2024 16:00:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/bd56079a-975e-4f80-b2bc-93749666a71a/500_innovative-dna-technologies-science-medicine-450w-2021058332.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/bd56079a-975e-4f80-b2bc-93749666a71a/innovative-dna-technologies-science-medicine-450w-2021058332.jpg?10000
New UK Biobank headquarters prepares for construction at Bruntwood SciTech’s Manchester Science Park /discover/news/new-uk-biobank-headquarters-prepares-for-construction-at-bruntwood-scitechs--manchester-science-park/ /discover/news/new-uk-biobank-headquarters-prepares-for-construction-at-bruntwood-scitechs--manchester-science-park/620295In an exciting moment for the future of UK Biobank, this week (Wednesday 7 February) the organisation welcomed the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, to Bruntwood SciTech’s Manchester Science Park to officially mark the future site of UK Biobank’s new £75m centre1 ready for construction. UK Biobank is the world's most comprehensive source of health data used for research, providing access to de-identified data to approved researchers worldwide.

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In an exciting moment for the future of UK Biobank, this week (Wednesday 7 February) the organisation welcomed the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, to Bruntwood SciTech’s Manchester Science Park to officially mark the future site of UK Biobank’s new £75m centre1 ready for construction. UK Biobank is the world's most comprehensive source of health data used for research, providing access to de-identified data to approved researchers worldwide.

The cutting-edge 131,000 sq ft new building, of which UK Biobank will occupy three floors, will include laboratory space and a latest-generation robotic freezer that stores and retrieves UK Biobank’s 20 million biological samples four times faster than before, revolutionising the pace of scientific discovery. It will increase UK Biobank’s capacity, speed and efficiency and is supported by a £127.6m award from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Infrastructure Fund for the next phase of UK Biobank’s development2.

UK Biobank will be located alongside fast-growth life science businesses working in diagnostics, genomics, biotech and precision medicine in the highly specialist purpose-built building, which includes specialist labs and features such as increased vibration resistance, piped gas distribution systems, enhanced cooling and ventilation systems, high security access and 100GB superfast connectivity. The new facility will be 100% electric and net zero carbon in construction and operation in its shared spaces - one of the first lab spaces in the UK to be so.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser DBE FRS, Chief Executive of UKRI, said: “UK Biobank is a unique resource, powering research and innovation in the biomedical sciences, creating jobs, and connecting pioneering organisations. UKRI is investing significantly in UK Biobanks’ future. Recent enhancements to UK Biobank, such as the addition of whole genome sequencing data of its half a million participants, are drawing even more scientists to the database, increasing its potential to improve public health. This new facility will help to drive research and innovation on disease prevention and treatment.” 

The Secretary of State was joined by senior representatives from UKRI, the University of Manchester, Bruntwood SciTech, and UK Biobank. To mark this celebration, the Secretary of State completed the planting of the ‘living wall’ hoarding for the site, which will be maintained throughout construction before becoming part of a 7m high, two-storey green wall3 wrapping around the building to act as a layer of insulation, increase biodiversity and improve air quality.

The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, said: “UK Biobank makes an unparalleled contribution to science across the whole world, by putting invaluable information at researchers’ fingertips. It is already unlocking insights with the potential to detect Parkinson’s sooner, and tackle heart disease. It is without question a jewel in the crown of UK science, and an envy of the world. UK Biobank’s new home at Manchester Science Park – supported with an accelerated £21 million from Government – will mean it has the state-of-the-art facilities it needs, to keep its place at the forefront of our understanding of human health.”

The campus is one of the UK’s most well-established life science and technology hubs, home to 150 startups, scaleups, and globally leading businesses, and is located within the heart of the Oxford Road Corridor innovation district - Europe’s largest clinical academic campus. Supported by the University of Manchester, the new building importantly puts UK Biobank near leading institutions operating across research, academia, business and the NHS. This will provide UK Biobank with new opportunities for collaboration between multi-disciplinary researchers and industry which will stimulate innovation, health impact and economic growth in the Manchester region and beyond.

Dr Kath Mackay, Chief Scientific Officer for Bruntwood SciTech, said: “The UK's ambition to be a global leader in life sciences is contingent on the success and continued growth of regional hubs like Manchester Science Park. The arrival of UK Biobank at the campus marks an exciting milestone in its evolution, further cementing its position as one of the UK’s primary locations for innovation, collaboration, and discovery, and where businesses can gain direct access to some of the world’s most pioneering research, and a fully integrated clinical and academic ecosystem."

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell FRS FMedSci, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester and member of UK Biobank’s Board, said: “Manchester is home to a globally acclaimed science and technology base and I’m really excited for UK Biobank to join this bustling hub of terrific research organisations which work closely with the University of Manchester to push the boundaries of science.”

The new centre is due to open in 2026 and will house UK Biobank’s biological samples, laboratories, headquarters and around half of its 250 staff. It will dramatically increase the speed at which UK Biobank can supply samples to researchers, allow for the storage of more samples as UK Biobank expands, and be more environmentally efficient. With a new home to store more samples, and in 2023, UK Biobank can now embark on pilot projects which will provide unrivalled data on human health and disease, such as:

●&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; Repeating the first measures taken at recruitment for every participant. This will gather incredibly useful information about how people’s minds and bodies change over middle and old age and how this is related to disease development. It will also provide an opportunity to collect new measures to enable research into healthy ageing.

●&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; Investigating different types of dementia and cancer. In the UK 1 in 10 people over the age of 65 have dementia, and 1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. There are several types of dementia, and even more forms of cancer. With more data from UK Biobank participants on these diseases there can be more research into their potential causes and the development of targeted treatments.

●&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; Trialling remote forms of assessment, such as apps and wearable technology. This will open up a new way of collecting detailed data on participants’ health, including objective measures of movement and sleep.

     Professor Sir Rory Collins FRS FMedSci, Principal Investigator and CEO of UK Biobank, said: “This new facility is an essential step forward in ensuring that researchers across the globe can more efficiently access our millions of samples to turn them into data which can be used to propel research and innovation. My huge thanks go to UKRI whose generous funds have made the development of this new facility possible.”

This ceremony is particularly timely as it coincides with two UK Biobank milestones: 10,000 peer-reviewed papers have been published using UK Biobank's data, and 80,000 participants have had full body image scans collected as part of our efforts to complete the world's largest of 100,000 volunteers.

None of this could exist without our amazing participants who give up their time and energy to provide the scientific community with the ultimate toolbox for investigating human health. I offer my eternal thanks to those half a million altruistic people,” added Professor Collins.  

Photo credit:  UK Biobank/Tim Ainsworth 

Caption: Jessica Bowles, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Impact, Bruntwood SciTech, Secretary of State Michelle Donelan, Prof. Dame Nancy Rothwell, University of Manchester & UK Biobank Board member, John Busby, Chief Operating Officer, UK Biobank 

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Manchester is home to a globally acclaimed science and technology base and I’m really excited for UK Biobank to join this bustling hub of terrific research organisations which work closely with the University of Manchester to push the boundaries of science]]> Fri, 09 Feb 2024 09:00:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/9cfc8cac-bc93-4a4a-93f4-64c4afcaa585/500_biobanksosvisit-1866.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/9cfc8cac-bc93-4a4a-93f4-64c4afcaa585/biobanksosvisit-1866.jpg?10000
Experts awarded funding to evaluate new Pharmacy First service /discover/news/experts-awarded-funding-to-evaluate-new-pharmacy-first-service/ /discover/news/experts-awarded-funding-to-evaluate-new-pharmacy-first-service/620109A team of scientists and experts have been awarded funding to evaluate the new National Health Service Pharmacy First service.

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A team of scientists and experts have been awarded funding to evaluate the new National Health Service Pharmacy First service.

Researchers led by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in collaboration with the University of Nottingham and Universities of Manchester and Oxford and experts at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), have been awarded £2.4m by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to evaluate the new service introduced to allow pharmacies to prescribe for minor illnesses.

The under the Government’s NHS Primary Care Recovery Plan. From February 2024, participating pharmacies will be able to supply prescription-only medicines for seven common conditions: earache, uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women, sore throat, sinusitis, impetigo, shingles and infected insect bites, after consultation with a community pharmacist. 

The research team will evaluate Pharmacy First's take-up, safety, equity, cost effectiveness and acceptability, as well as its implications for antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance.

Dr Kimberley Sonnex, from the University of Nottingham is lead for the take-up and safety evaluation, Pharmacy Practice and Policy, she said: “I’m excited to work with a research team including cross-discipline expertise from pharmacists, general practitioners, nurses, health economists, policy researchers, and experts in antimicrobial resistance to evaluate a new community pharmacy service that puts patients first.”

Professor Claire Anderson, Pharmacy Practice and Policy, University of Nottingham and president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said: “I am delighted to be part of the team evaluating Pharmacy First in England. We will have much to learn from similar, successful schemes in Wales and Scotland”

, lead for the Manchester Centre for Health Economics said: “I am looking forward to working on the evaluation of Pharmacy First. When resources are limited in the NHS, it is essential we spend that money on safe and effective services to make sure patients get the best value for money from their healthcare.

“Community pharmacies are important providers of healthcare and are accessible to all communities, including the medically-underserved. Through this evaluation we will contribute to understanding of potential consequences of Pharmacy First for inequalities in access to health services and outcomes.”

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Thu, 08 Feb 2024 09:37:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_stock-photo-cropped-image-of-patient-hand-taking-box-from-pharmacist-at-pharmacy-1135343969.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/stock-photo-cropped-image-of-patient-hand-taking-box-from-pharmacist-at-pharmacy-1135343969.jpg?10000
Universities secure £12 million boost for AI innovation /discover/news/universities-secures-12-million-boost-for-ai-innovation/ /discover/news/universities-secures-12-million-boost-for-ai-innovation/619945Vlogٷ is to be part of  a research , led by the University of Edinburgh,  that will focus on developing AI tools to help revolutionise the field of healthcare.

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Vlogٷ is to be part of  a research , led by the University of Edinburgh,  that will focus on developing AI tools to help revolutionise the field of healthcare.

The EPSRC AI Hub for Causality in Healthcare AI with Real Data (CHAI) will develop new ways of unearthing important links in complex health data.

The hub will develop ways to use AI to enable the early prediction of debilitating diseases thanks to the £12m funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

It is part of the nine centres announced as part of EPSRC’s £80m UK-wide investment in applying AI to real world data and research.

CHAI aims to develop AI that can empower decision making tools to improve challenging tasks such as the early prediction, diagnosis and prevention of disease, and – crucially – to improve the safety of such technology in healthcare.

Researchers hope to apply this new technology to tackle key societal health challenges such as understanding infection, Alzheimer’s, improving cancer treatments, social care, diabetes, and rehabilitation.

CHAI will be led by The University of Edinburgh’s Professor Sotirios Tsaftaris, Canon Medical/RAEng Chair in Healthcare AI.

Professor Tsaftaris said: “I'm delighted that the University of Edinburgh will be leading this world-leading consortium to develop next generation Causal AI. Causal AI holds tremendous promise for creating a new generation of AI solutions that are more robust, fair, safe, and transparent. Causal AI offers a step change in what AI can do for health with the proper safeguards. To fulfil this vision CHAI brings together an incredible team from across the UK (Imperial, Manchester, UCL, Exeter, KCL), several affiliated researchers and domain experts, as well as more than 50 world-leading partner organisations to work together to co-create solutions thoroughly integrating ethical and societal aspects.

“I am extremely excited to lead this hub, particularly because of the strong people focus ensuring that we prepare the next generation of researchers in such cutting-edge AI methods.”

, who directs the University of Manchester part of the hub said: “I am so excited to be a part of the new CHAI hub. The focus on causality aligns with key strengths at the University, and ensures that we can build AI for healthcare that is robust, fair, and directly applicable to decision support. This is a genuine opportunity for us to transform the role of AI in health.”

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Tue, 06 Feb 2024 13:20:08 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/a57da138-5502-4735-ad2f-6966c2135b00/500_computer-hands-close-up-concept-450w-2275082489.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/a57da138-5502-4735-ad2f-6966c2135b00/computer-hands-close-up-concept-450w-2275082489.jpg?10000
Small RNAs help skin wounds heal faster with minimal scarring, find scientists /discover/news/small-rnas-help-skin-wounds-heal-faster-with-minimal-scarring-find-scientists/ /discover/news/small-rnas-help-skin-wounds-heal-faster-with-minimal-scarring-find-scientists/619645A class of molecules playing a crucial role in the regulation of gene expression and other cellular processes can restore normal skin structure rather than producing a scar, a University of Manchester led study in mice and humans suggests.

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A class of molecules playing a crucial role in the regulation of gene expression and other cellular processes can restore normal skin structure rather than producing a scar, a University of Manchester led study in mice and humans suggests.

The in , published by Elsevier, mean microRNA-29s, a class of small RNAs, could benefit patients affected by large-area or deep wounds prone to dysfunctional scarring.

The findings offer hope for an eventual to solution to the global problem of non-healing wounds, thought to cost between £11.25 billion and  £16.5 billion per year.

, from the University’s Division of Cell Matrix Biology and Regenerative Medicine, was lead investigator of the study.

She said: “We had data showing microRNAs can regulate skin growth. However, microRNAs do not code for proteins, so it wasn’t clear how such small molecules can make changes to the skin. We therefore studied underlying mechanisms that could be targeted to improve wound healing in the skin.”

There is already good understanding of the molecular events during early wound healing stages of inflammation and tissue formation, showing microRNAs are important factors in healing and may regulate functions in skin repair. However, the mechanisms underlying tissue remodeling are unclear.

Scientists studying wound healing in mice with microRNA-29 switched off have suggested the release of microRNA-29 targets promote wound healing by regulating skin regeneration.

That is done by binding long RNAs -  molecules carrying instructions from our DNA to different parts of the cell to make proteins – which code for a structural protein of the skin called laminin C2 (LAMC2).

LAMC2 is a crucial part of the glue that holds our cells in place and helps maintain the integrity and structure of tissues throughout the body, restoring the normal skin structure.

In the Manchester study, the researchers found that wild type mice healed quite well, but the skin of transgenic mice devoid of microRNA-29 regenerated even better.

To understand the reasons, they conducted deep microscopic analysis of the transgenic wounds and observed deposition of Lamc2—usually found in one of the skin layers in wild mice—around blood vessels inside the wounds of microRNA-29–deficient transgenic mice.

The observation showed microRNA-29 may be inhibiting the expression of Lamc2, and deletion in the transgenic mice relieved the inhibition, resulting in faster wound healing. Importantly, in human wounds, the new areas of LAMC2 deposition was found in wound matrix around small blood vessels under regenerating wound.

Dr Kurinna said: “These processes are likely to be mediated by the removal of microRNA-29, which improves cell matrix adhesion - the way cells in our body stick to and interact with the network of proteins and other molecules that surrounds cells known as the extracellular matrix.

“Our results further suggest a link between LAMC2, improved creation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), and re-epithelialization -   the body's way of closing a wound.

“We expected the removal of microRNA-29 would help outer layers of the skin to grow faster. But it was the deep matrix of the wound that actually showed an improvement, and that was tremendously exciting.”

The findings demonstrate the role of microRNA-29 in epidermal repair and suggest the release of microRNA-29 targets, particularly LAMC2, promotes wound healing.

That could mean the inhibition of microRNA-29 and/or overexpression of LAMC2 may be a new and effective strategy for improving wound healing.

Dr Kurinna added: “Our findings are of particular interest because they describe the mechanism which restores normal skin structure, rather than a wound closure by scar tissue. Any improvement of normal skin repair would therefore help many patients affected by large-area or deep wounds prone to dysfunctional scarring.”

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Psychological care delivered over the phone is an effective way to combat loneliness and depression, according to a major new study /discover/news/psychological-care-delivered-over-the-phone-is-an-effective-way-to-combat-loneliness-and-depression-according-to-a-major-new-study/ /discover/news/psychological-care-delivered-over-the-phone-is-an-effective-way-to-combat-loneliness-and-depression-according-to-a-major-new-study/618796Depression and loneliness can be prevented using structured telephone-based psychological care, delivered over eight weeks, according to new research.

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Depression and loneliness can be prevented using structured telephone-based psychological care, delivered over eight weeks, according to new research.

The results of the study, a major clinical trial carried out during the COVID pandemic, showed rapid and enduring improvements in mental health and quality of life when older people received weekly phone calls over eight weeks from a specially trained coach who encouraged them to maintain their social connections and to remain active. 

The study, led by a team based at the and at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, also including Vlogٷ,  found levels of depression reduced significantly and the benefits were greater than those seen for antidepressants.

Participants in the study reported their levels of emotional loneliness fell by 21% over a three-month period and the benefits remained after the phone calls had ceased, suggesting an enduring impact.  

Mitigating the psychological impacts of COVID

The Behavioural Activation in Social Isolation -  started within months of the 2020 pandemic and was the largest trial ever undertaken to target and measure loneliness in this way. The study, published in the journal , represents a rapid advance in evidence to understand what works in preventing loneliness. 

People invited to take part in the BASIL+ study were aged over 65 with multiple long-term conditions.  They had been asked to shield during COVID and were at a high risk of loneliness and depression.   

The BASIL+ trial was supported by a £2.6M award from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and was the only mental health trial prioritised by the NHS as part of its Urgent Public Health programme - a cornerstone of its fight against COVID.  Hundreds of older people were recruited to the BASIL+ trial from 26 sites across the UK during the COVID pandemic of 2020-21. 

The epidemic of loneliness - global health concern

Politicians and policy makers have become increasingly aware of the importance of loneliness, but have struggled to know ‘what works’ in its prevention.  The World Health Organization has just ’ and has launched an .  It is anticipated that the results of the BASIL+ trial will feed into this process, since BASIL+ is the largest trial ever undertaken to combat loneliness.   The Jo Cox Commission, established in memory of the murdered politician, and there is a , with a Ministerial appointment.

The research was jointly led by  Professor Simon Gilbody from the University of York and Hull York Medical School and Professor David Ekers from Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. Professor Gilbody said: "We now know that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and depression is a silent killer.  All of us working on the BASIL+ trial had older parents and relatives who became socially isolated during lockdown.”

“Based on our previous research, we had a good idea what might work”, Professor Ekers added. “With the support of the NHS and the NIHR we were able to test this in a large rigorous trial.  The results are now available and this is very exciting.  The UK led the world with the vaccine discovery trials.  Similarly in mental health we have advanced the science of ‘what works’ in the area of loneliness, and we have learned much from the dark days of the pandemic.”

“An important step forward”

, Honorary Professor at the Mental Health and Addictions Research Group at the University of York and , Professor of Clinical Psychology at Hull York Medical School and University of York designed and led the telephone support programme.  Professor McMillan said: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this trial shows how we can prevent both depression and loneliness.”

, CEO of the National Institute for Health and Care Research, which funded the study, said: "These results are an important step forward in understanding what works in tackling and preventing loneliness and depression. The research is also a great example of how public money allows researchers, healthcare professionals and the public to work together across institutions and organisations to deliver results that will really make a difference to people's health and wellbeing."

, the BASIL+ trial manager from the Department of Health Sciences, University of York, added: “This is what the UK does well and it shows how the NHS, Universities and third sector organisations were able to work in partnership during the pandemic to tackle the big health challenges.” 

, who led the collaboration at The University of Manchester, said: “These BASIL+ trial results represent the culmination of a strong collaboration between northern universities to tackle one of the major threats to health and wellbeing.  We will continue to work together to ensure the results of our work translate to improve the lives of older people after the pandemic.”

The BASIL+ partnership included leading researchers from the Universities of Leeds, Keele, and Manchester and also the charity AgeUK. 

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BASIL+ trial results represent the culmination of a strong collaboration between northern universities to tackle one of the major threats to health and wellbeing.  We will continue to work together to ensure the results of our work translate to improve the lives of older people after the pandemic]]> Fri, 02 Feb 2024 02:57:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/21d0df10-1b59-412d-bd32-221918ae7c07/500_happy-senior-man-answering-smartphone-450w-224586802.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/21d0df10-1b59-412d-bd32-221918ae7c07/happy-senior-man-answering-smartphone-450w-224586802.jpg?10000
‘Liver talks’ training resource launched to support liver health conversations /discover/news/liver-talks-training-resource-launched-to-support-liver-health-conversations/ /discover/news/liver-talks-training-resource-launched-to-support-liver-health-conversations/618792Liver Talks: Let’s Talk About Liver Disease Risk, a new training resource for healthcare professionals has been launched to improve the essential conversations they have with people at risk of liver disease. Highlighting the significance of the matter, the British Liver Trust has shared alarming statistics revealing that over 12,000 lives were lost to liver disease in 2022, highlighting the need for proactive interventions to prevent the progression of serious liver damage. 

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Liver Talks: Let’s Talk About Liver Disease Risk, a new training resource for healthcare professionals has been launched to improve the essential conversations they have with people at risk of liver disease. Highlighting the significance of the matter, the British Liver Trust has shared alarming statistics revealing that over 12,000 lives were lost to liver disease in 2022, highlighting the need for proactive interventions to prevent the progression of serious liver damage. 

Developed by the Vocal Liver Network in collaboration with the British Liver Trust, the resource was created as part of the project led by Vlogٷ & Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. ID LIVER is a research and innovation initiative aiming to identify liver disease in patients much earlier than current practices.

 

Over 90% of liver disease cases are preventable, with the primary risk factors being obesity, alcohol, and viral hepatitis. While the liver is remarkably resilient and can regenerate itself, it has its limits and extensive damage can lead to liver disease. However, most liver diseases can be prevented through lifestyle changes.

To understand how better conversations about liver disease risk could take place, the ID LIVER team had discussions with people at increased risk of liver disease and healthcare professionals. They revealed that healthcare professionals acknowledge challenges in addressing specific risk factors, especially obesity and alcohol use. In response to these challenges, ‘Liver Talks’ provides a dynamic resource for healthcare professionals.

Pamela Healy, Chief Executive of British Liver Trust, emphasised, "One in three of us is at risk of liver disease, and the alarming increase in diagnoses necessitates action. Identifying those at risk and discussing the ways they can improve their liver health is vital to reduce their risk of liver disease.

“We know that it can be difficult for healthcare professionals to have these conversations and the ‘Liver Talks' resource will help address this challenge.  By improving conversations about risk factors, healthcare professionals can provide crucial support and empower people at risk to make lifestyle changes.”

This innovative resource aims to break down barriers and empower healthcare professionals to navigate sensitive topics related to liver disease risk factors effectively. It includes a one-hour session plan, a PowerPoint presentation, and a compelling animation, offering healthcare teams insights into people’s experiences and the opportunity to reflect on how best to initiate conversations and foster understanding.

, Consultant Hepatologist at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Honorary Senior Lecturer at Vlogٷ, said:  “The ID LIVER project was established to diagnose and manage liver disease at earlier, treatable stages. This is particularly important for Greater Manchester and the North West of England as we have some of the UK’s highest rates of advanced liver disease. The Vocal Liver Network is a fantastic way for us to address this major healthcare challenge by working in partnership with patients and the public in the design and management of their health research, ultimately benefiting communities that are traditionally underserved by current care pathways for liver disease.” 

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Manchester researchers develop first ever guideline for cancer screening in rare muscle disease /discover/news/manchester-researchers-develop-first-ever-guideline-for-cancer-screening-in-rare-muscle-disease/ /discover/news/manchester-researchers-develop-first-ever-guideline-for-cancer-screening-in-rare-muscle-disease/617787Researchers from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)  and University of Manchester have been instrumental in developing the first guideline for cancer screening in an inflammatory muscle disease called “myositis”, which has an increased cancer risk.

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Researchers from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)  and University of Manchester have been instrumental in developing the first guideline for cancer screening in an inflammatory muscle disease called “myositis”, which has an increased cancer risk.

The international guideline for ‘Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathy-Associated Cancer Screening: an International Myositis Assessment and Clinical Studies Group (IMACS) Initiative’ was published at the beginning of November 2023 and led by .

Dr Oldroyd is an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer within the Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases Theme (RMD) of the NIHR Manchester BRC and his research focuses on improving cancer screening in myositis.

The guideline provides a personalised roadmap for people with adult-onset myositis, a rare condition that can cause weak muscles, and offers 18 recommendations. Their main aim is to empower clinicians to detect cancer early, especially those at high risk, contributing to better overall outcomes.

He said; “The guidelines help categorise individuals into standard, moderate, or high-risk groups based on their myositis subtype, autoantibody status, and certain clinical features.

“The guideline details 2 screening panels: a ‘basic’ one with tests like chest radiography, and an ‘enhanced’ option with advanced techniques like CT scans and tumour markers.

“Guidance on timing and frequency of screening is also provided and tailored to individual risk levels. Additional procedures, like gastrointestinal endoscopy and PET–CT scans, are recommended in specific cases.”

Myositis is an auto-immune muscle disease affecting approximately 10,000 people in the UK and evidence suggests up to 1 in 4 people with myositis will develop cancer within 3 years of diagnosis. Various cancers have been reported, including lung, ovarian, colorectal, lymphoma, breast and nasopharyngeal cancers among the most common. Myositis itself is currently treatable, not curable.

Dr Oldroyd, NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer at Vlogٷ within the Division of Musculoskeletal and Dermatological Sciences, presented the recommendations at the American College of Rheumatology conference and a paper on the evidence-based guideline has been published in .

The process to develop the guideline began in 2019, and the first part of the project involved conducting a . The expert group included 75 co-authors across 22 different countries.

Dr Oldroyd, who is also a Rheumatologist at Salford Royal Hospital, part of Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, added;

“I am really proud that we now have an evidence and consensus base for cancer screening to improve outcomes, enabling earlier diagnosis and stimulating further research in this area.

“This global guideline will help clinicians risk-stratify a patient’s individual characteristics using their disease sub type and enable a standardised approach across health systems to ascertain whether people will be at high, moderate or standard risk of cancer.

“Early detection of cancer is key to improving outcomes. Importantly we hope this will enable clinicians to plan how to screen for cancer in those patients and how often.

“Several Manchester BRC members are co-authors which highlights the capability of Manchester BRC in bringing together experts in musculoskeletal disease, cancer and rare conditions. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to and supported this work.”

The recommendations have been scientifically reviewed by the International Myositis Assessment and Clinical Studies Group Scientific Committee and endorsed by the International Myositis Society.

The RMD Theme is part of Manchester BRC’s Inflammation Cluster along with 3 other research Themes; Respiratory Medicine, Dermatology and Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine.

These conditions – which include arthritis and related conditions, chest diseases, skin disorders and heart disease – are all underpinned by chronic inflammation.

Watch the BRC’s Spotlight On film to find out how Manchester BRC’s inclusive and proactive research is driving health improvements in rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases and other health conditions.

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Experts outline how to reduce COVID-19 health inequalities for ethnic minority groups /discover/news/covid-19-health-inequalities-for-ethnic-minority-groups/ /discover/news/covid-19-health-inequalities-for-ethnic-minority-groups/617797An international collaborative led by Vlogٷ and the University of Leicester has published a new paper which outlines how to reduce COVID-19 health inequity among ethnic minority groups.

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An international collaborative led by Vlogٷ and the University of Leicester has published a new paper which outlines how to reduce COVID-19 health inequity among ethnic minority groups.

The paper, commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) and published in , builds on research already completed by both institutions during the pandemic which demonstrated that ethnic minority groups were disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The paper brings together all of the available evidence, along with international experts in the field, to summarise why people from ethnic minority groups were more likely to be infected and die during the pandemic.

Researchers highlighted that ethnic minority groups were more likely to be exposed to those who were infectious with COVID-19 because a high proportion were employed in key worker roles, making it more likely that they would themselves become infected. They also showed that certain ethnic minority groups were more likely to die once infected due to barriers in receiving adequate healthcare, such as delayed diagnosis and treatment due to job insecurity and financial issues, and in some cases language barriers.

In addition, the research showed they were more likely to suffer from social and economic consequences – for example the inability to isolate once infected and in some cases the lack of adequate healthcare to meet their needs.

The authors state that ethnic minority groups were disadvantaged from the start due to longstanding health inequities caused by systemic racism and racial discrimination. Furthermore, the reasons for ethnic inequities in COVID-19 infection, severe disease and death are interconnected.

The paper aims to provide a blueprint for policymakers and researchers to address these inequities so that they can be better prepared for future pandemics.

It states that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to intervention does not work and that cultural, social and language barriers must be overcome along with other socio-economic issues.

“This framework is the first of its kind to specifically address inequities during a pandemic,” said Dr Daniel Pan from the University of Leicester, the paper’s co-lead author who is a specialist registrar in Infectious Diseases and General Internal Medicine and a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Doctoral Research Fellow. “The recommendations aim to ensure ethnic inequalities in treatment do not occur in future.

“The COVID-19 pandemic won’t be the last and steps need to be taken now to reduce the inevitable consequences of the next pandemic on ethnic minority groups. We know that innovative approaches are required but if we plan for these, they can be overcome.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and amplified health inequalities for ethnic minority groups,” said Professor of Clinical Infectious Diseases Manish Pareek from the University of Leicester, the paper’s senior author.

“It is important that we learn lessons from the pandemic and this work, in collaboration with international experts and the WHO, provides guidance on how to reduce the disproportionate impact on ethnic minority groups for future pandemics.”

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Machine learning predicts response to drug for arthritis in children /discover/news/machine-learning-predicts-response-to-drug-for-arthritis-in-children/ /discover/news/machine-learning-predicts-response-to-drug-for-arthritis-in-children/617213Doctors might one day be able to target children and young people with arthritis most likely to be helped by its first-line treatment, thanks to the application of machine learning by University of Manchester scientists.

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Doctors might one day be able to target children and young people with arthritis most likely to be helped by its first-line treatment, thanks to the application of machine learning by University of Manchester scientists.

Though methotrexate is the first-line drug to be given for Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), it is only effective or tolerated in half of the children and young people who receive it.

Those patients not helped by the drug have to wait longer to receive second line therapies, potentially prolonging the severe joint pain and other symptoms which often have a devastating impact on children and their families.

The study, published in the journal eBioMedicine, could facilitate more precise research into the identification of response predictors to methotrexate, such as biomarkers, and lead to better forecasting of likely outcomes following drug initiation.

It confirms that one in eight children and young people starting methotrexate will demonstrate improvements in inflammatory features of disease yet have some symptoms.

They also showed that in 16 per cent of children taking methotrexate, improvements in disease activity could be slower than in others over time.

Lead author said: “Giving methotrexate to children who it will not help wastes time, money and effort for healthcare services-  as well as unnecessarily exposing them to potential side effects.

“But now machine learning has opened the door made it  possible to predicting which aspects of a child’s disease would be helped by the drug and so which children should start other therapies either alongside or instead of methotrexate straight away.

“In addition, this work shows how clinical trials are missing the mark in only looking at drug ‘response’ or ‘non-response’ for childhood-onset arthritis.

“This oversimplification could lead to a drug being labelled as ‘effective’ when key symptoms such as pain remain, or ‘ineffective’ where a significant improvement is seen in one aspect of this complex disease.”

The research is funded by the Medical Research Council, Versus Arthritis, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, Olivia’s Vision, and the National Institute for Health Research as part of the CLUSTER consortium.

The research team accessed data from four nationwide cohorts of children and young people who began their treatment before January 2018.

Juvenile arthritis disease activity score components (including how many swollen joints, a doctor’s perception of disease, a patient/parent report of wellbeing, results of a blood test for inflammation) were recorded at the start of treatment  and over the following year.

They used machine learning identify clusters of patients with distinct disease patterns following methotrexate treatment, predict clusters; and compare clusters to existing treatment response measures.

From 657 children and young people verified in 1241 patients they identified Fast improvers (11%), Slow Improvers (16%), Improve-Relapse (7%), Persistent Disease (44%).

Two other clusters they called Persistent physician global assessment (8%) and Persistent parental global assessment  (13%), were characterised by improvement in all activity score features except one.

Dr Shoop-Worrall added: “The longer-term impact of this slower disease control needs further investigation. Our study also demonstrates the utility of machine learning methods to uncover clusters of children as a basis for stratified treatment decisions.

“This work builds on existing studies of methotrexate treatment response, confirming that response is not bivariate but can be highly variable across different features of disease within individuals.

“At the moment trials of methotrexate in JIA categorise patients into responders and non-responders.

“That misclassification can compromise studies looking to identify predictors of response, such as biomarkers.”

  • The paper Towards Stratified Treatment of JIA: Machine Learning Identifies Subtypes in Response to Methotrexate from Four UK Cohorts is available
  • Image shows open bottle of methotrexate drug—one of the first chemotherapeutic drugs used in the early 1950s (released by the National Cancer Institute in the US,  part of the National Institutes of Health)
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Future benefits of water fluoridation not guaranteed, study shows /discover/news/future-benefits-of-water-fluoridation-not-guaranteed-study-shows/ /discover/news/future-benefits-of-water-fluoridation-not-guaranteed-study-shows/616998Existing drinking water fluoridation programmes in England still provide marginal savings for the NHS, but there is no guarantee new schemes would continue to do so, a new led by University of Manchester researchers finds.

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Existing drinking water fluoridation programmes in England still provide marginal savings for the NHS, but there is no guarantee new schemes would continue to do so, a new led by University of Manchester researchers finds.

It  is the largest ever study of the effects of water fluoridation on the dental health of adults.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research funded data study of 6.4 million UK adults and adolescents across England and published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology estimated the public sector saved £16.9 Million between 2010 and 2020 as a result of water fluoridation.

People receiving optimally fluoridated water in the study experienced a 3% reduction in NHS invasive dental treatments such as fillings and extractions, and a 2% reduction in the numbers decayed, missing, and filled teeth, when compared to the non-optimally fluoridated cohort over 10 years.

The research team found no compelling evidence that water fluoridation reduced social inequalities in dental health and the numbers of missing teeth between the cohorts were the same.

Around six million people in England live in areas that receive drinking water with fluoride added to prevent tooth decay, including those in Birmingham and Newcastle. Water containing enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay is known as ‘’optimally fluoridated’’.

Most research on the benefits of water fluoridation was carried out before fluoride was added to toothpastes in the 1970s, and only included children, showing water fluoridation had a large impact on dental health – almost halving levels of tooth decay.

New research was needed to investigate the dental health benefits in people who have access to fluoride in toothpastes. More people now keep their teeth into old age, so understanding the benefits for adults was also a priority.

Over the 10-year period studied, optimal water fluoridation cost £10.30 per person. NHS treatment costs were £22.26 lower per person (5.5%) and patients paid £7.64 less (2%) in dental charges.

Using the data, the researchers estimate if 62% of the adults and teenagers in England attended NHS dental services at least twice within 10 years, the total return on investment would have been £16.9 Million between 2010 and 2020.

The findings echo the recently published NIHR CATFISH prospective cohort study in UK children which showed smaller than expected health benefits of water fluoridation in children.

Lead author Dr Deborah Moore, an honorary lecturer at Vlogٷ, said: “This study is the first in the UK to capture health and economic effects of water fluoridation on adults with widespread access to fluorides in toothpastes, mouthwashes and dentist-applied varnishes. 

“The patients who received optimal water fluoridation had very small positive health effects.

“But as the costs of NHS dentistry are much higher than the costs of water fluoridation, the relatively small observed reductions in visits to the dentist still resulted in a positive return for the public sector.

“This return should be evaluated against the projected costs and lifespan of any proposed capital investment in water fluoridation, including new programmes.”

The capital costs of setting up a new scheme covering a similar number of people in 2009 have been estimated at around £50 million in today’s prices; which would take 30 years to recover in NHS dental treatment savings.

Cost-recovery for new schemes, say the researchers, may not be guaranteed in future generations, as children’s teeth are in much better condition than their parents, and they may not need as much dental treatment as they reach adulthood.

Dr Moore added: “Fluoridation of drinking water is justifiably recognised as one of the twentieth century’s greatest public health achievements.

“But as fluoride toothpastes became available in the mid-1970s -   considered to be the key factor in the dramatic decline in the prevalence and severity of dental decay – the context of water fluoridation has changed.

“There is no doubt that population-level, mass preventive interventions for tooth decay are still required.

“Tooth decay remains almost universal by adulthood, even in populations that have had access to fluoride toothpastes and fluoridated water from birth.

“However, in high income countries, we may be reaching the limit of what can be achieved through fluorides alone.

“The relationship between sugar consumption and tooth decay is very clear: average consumption of sugars in the UK is more than double the recommended level for adolescents, and is almost double for adults.

“Managing sugar consumption is another area of policy that needs to be investigated.”

  • A video explaining the study is available
  • The paper How effective and cost-effective is water fluoridation for adults and adolescents? The LOTUS 10-year retrospective cohort study is available
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