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Dunhill Medical Trust Research Fellows - 2012-2014

The Dunhill Medical Trust is generously funding five surgical Research Fellowships with the Royal College of Surgeons for 2012-14. We are grateful for the support that has helped make this research possible.

Mr Djalil Baiou Mr Antony Palmer Mr Philip Stather
Miss Kiran Hussain Mr Aman Sharma

Mr Djalil Baiou

Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leicester

Djalil Baiou

Engineering of angiopoetin 2 Ligand Trap for Down Staging of Advanced Cancer

'Engineering new drugs to treat cancer'

Cancer causes more than one in four of all deaths in the UK. Deaths from cancer rise with increasing age and the majority of cancer deaths occur in those ages over 65 (77%). Often surgery offers the only cure. However, surgery may not be possible if spread to other organs has occurred.

Our study aims to use a novel technique to engineer a drug that blocks Angiopoetin2; a growth factor which promotes cancer growth. Our ultimate goal is to reduce cancer size and spread thereby making curative surgery possible.

Miss Kiran Hussain

Centre of Auditory Research, University College London (UCL) Ear Institute

Kiran Hussain

Expression of Integrins in the Adult Human Vestibular System and their role in Regeneration

'The role of integrins in balance'

Loss of the sensory "hair" cells from the vestibular (balance) system of the inner ear is the major cause of dizziness. Dizziness is the major reason for vists to the GP by those over 75. Balance dysfunction contributes to falls in the elderly costing the UK Governent £1 billion yearly.

The vestibular system has capacity for hair cell regeneration. Enhancement would provide a therapy to alleviate the condition. Integrins are proteins involved in regulating repair and recovery responses in tissues. Evidence implicates them in repairing the damaged vestibular organ of mice. We will examine their role in human vestibular tissue.

Mr Antony Palmer

Botnar Research Centre, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Oxford

Antony Palmer

A Randomised Controlled Trial to determine whether the Debridement of Femoroacetabular Impingement Lesions arrests the development of Hip Osteoarthritis

'Developing techniques to prevent hip arthritis'

Hip arthritis affects greater then 20% of the population aged over 70 years. Presently, the only effective treatment is joint replacement, although this is major surgery and 1% patients die within 90 days of their operation. We now know that abnormal lumps of bone next to the hip joint are a major cause of hip arthritis, and we may be able to prevent arthritis developing by removing these lumps using key-hole surgery when a joint first starts to show damage. Our project may prove that this operation prevents arthritis, and as a result, will be offered to many more patients.

Mr Aman Sharma

Nuffield Department of Orthopadics, University of Oxford

Aman Sharma

The use of stem cells and injectable collagen-based scaffold in spinal osteoporosis and to promote fusion in degenerative conditions

'Treating degenerative spinal conditions with stem-cells'

Degenerative spinal conditions (including degenerative intervertebral disc disease, osteoporotic vertebral fractures) are common (lifetime risk of 1 in 4), resulting in chronic back pain with decreased quality of life and increased risk of death. Due to the ageing population, the number of people affected by these conditions is expeted to rise by over 50% by 2060.

The project aims to develop a targeted therapy of stem cells and an injectable collagen-based substance which will improve the quality of life of patients suffering with back pain and spinal osteoporosis.

Mr Philip Stather

Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leicester

Philip Stather

The Differencial Expression of MicroRNA in Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

' MicroRNAs, new biomarkers for AAA'

Aneurysms are dilatations of arteries, which expand without symptoms until they rupture, at which point 90% of patients do not survive. Abdominal aortic aneurysms are responsible for approximately 7000 deaths annually in England and Wales. MicroRNAs regulate gene function, and serveral MicroRNAs have been found to interact with components of aneurysm formation. This project aims to identify the role of microRNAs in abdominal aortic aneurysm formation, this research will allow better understanding of aneurysm formation, contributing to the development of therapeutic targets to halt aneurysm growth, prior to definitive surgical correction.

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