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Dunhill Medical Trust Research Fellows - 2014-2016

The Dunhill Medical Trust is generously funding five surgical Research Fellowships with the Royal College of Surgeons for 2014-16. We are grateful for the support that has helped make this research possible.

Miss Jemma Bhoday

Jemma Bhoday

Royal Marsden Hospital

Relevance and predictors of treatment induced cell-death in rectal cancer

Treatment induced cell-death in rectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is a disease of the elderly.  It’s the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK.  14,000 new patients are diagnosed with rectal cancer annually.

The ability to predict whether rectal cancer will regrow after chemoradiotherapy using a biological measure of cell-death is powerful.  It will enable us to give more information to patients about their tumours and how we expect them to progress.  This is a new and exciting are for development and will enable us to individualize therapy and give patients the treatment that their specific tumour requires.

Mr Andrew Currie

Andrew Currie

St Marks Hospital

Developing Innovative risk-reducing surgery for colonic polyp excision

Half of 70 Year olds have precancerous bowel polyps, which if left could cause symptoms and shorten life.  However many cannot be removed using telescopes (endoscopy), so for 1,500 patients/year, this means major surgery (segmental colectomy), resulting in serious complications in up to one third of patients.

Recognising these risks, we have developed a new full-thickness laparo-endoscopic excision of the colon (FLEX) procedure using a telescope and ‘key-hole’ surgery (laparoscopy) to create a folded disc of bowel containing the polyp.

If successful, FLEX could allow patients to avoid the risk of major bowel resection.

Mr Robert MacFarlane

Robert Macfarlane

Imperial College London


3D cellular implants for bone tissue engineering in revision joint arthroplasty

Using stem cells to grow bone

Osteoarthritis becomes more common with age, and is one of the leading causes of pain in the elderly.  Joint replacement improves pain, but can fail because of bone collapse.  Replacing lost bone when re-inserting a joint replacement is challenging, and often needs donated or artificial bone that can transmit disease, and may not succeed.

I aim to grow new bone using stem cells within beads, to implant into areas of bone collapse in arthritis patients.  This will help to relieve pain, prevent further surgery, and reduce the risks of using donated or artificial bone.

Ms Mahim Quershi

Mahim Qureshi

Charing Cross Hospital

Biomarker Research in Thromboembolic Stroke

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, costing the UK £9 billion annually.  Approximately 20-30% strokes are due to carotid artery narrowing, but it is undetermined which patients with carotid narrowing are likely to suffer a stroke.

By discovering a biological marker, or a ‘’biomarker’’ of high-risk carotid disease such patients could undergo treatment strategies to reduce risk.  This would enable:

  1. Personalised risk estimate for patients
  2. Reduction in unnecessary surgery, complications, waiting lists
  3. Improved cost-effectiveness of surgery
  4. A means of monitoring improvement with drugs targeting arterial disease.

Miss Holly Roy

Holly Roy

John Radcliffe Hosptial

Deep brain stimulation for bladder control

Urinary storage disorders affect 20% of over 40-year-olds in the UK and 55% of over-85-year-olds, with even high rates amongst residential home inhabitants.  Symptoms include urinary frequency, incontinence and nocturia and can occur alongside certain neurological disorders e.g Parkinson’s disease.  Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been shown to improve bladder function.  We aim to discover why this happens and which stimulation targets are most effective. 

This will help existing DBS candidates with urinary symptoms by guiding choice of stimulation site, and in the long term, will lead to DBS for intractable bladder storage dysfunction.

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