Advancing the science of healing for over 55 years

Blond McIndoe has been at the forefront of great scientific discovery for over half a century

The roots of our research go right back to the Second World War, when Sir Archibald McIndoe challenged existing ways of dealing with the burns suffered by RAF airmen. He revolutionised treatments, plastic surgery techniques and the rehabilitation of burns patients, in the process inspiring the creation of the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation, which now carries on his pioneering work.

Our early successes included fundamental research into immunological mechanisms, which led to some world firsts – the first ever heart transplant, example of cultured skin cells combined with a new artificial skin, and knee operation using cultured cartilage cells with grafts of cartilage. Over the years, our work has brought progress in areas such as graft rejection research, the use of amnion in wound healing and improved understanding in nerve repair. Some of our more recent innovations have included the development of sprayed skin cells for children’s burns and new biomaterials to reconstruct damaged tissue.

Our current priorities are advancing burns and wound healing techniques and technologies that aim to repair, restore and regenerate tissue and reduce debilitating scarring. To achieve this we identify and support young very bright trainees and Consultants in their research projects which may make a significant difference to surgical outcomes.

We are in a unique position to achieve this because of our partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons who identify research projects with real potential. Through our Board members we have access to expert insight as to whether a project is worth supporting. 

Recent Research funded by Blond McIndoe

Pump Prime Projects

Matthew Gardiner

Honorary Departmental Lecturer in Plastic Surgery Oxford University HF NHS Trust

 

Joint distraction for treatment of base of thumb osteoarthritis

Thumb base osteoarthritis is the most common cause of hand pain and loss of function. Patients and surgeons have selected it as a key priority for research. Scientific evidence suggests that reducing forces through the joint might reduce pain and improve function. The HAILO 2 study aims to develop a new technology that ‘off loads’ the joint. The first part of the study will explore patient attitudes to the device and design a prototype for testing in a small group of volunteers. Ultimately, it may reduce the need for surgery and be more cost effective.

Fadi George Issa

Plastic Surgeon Burns Consultant at Stoke Mandeville Hospital

 

Detecting dangerous skin cancer early

Skin cancer is the commonest type of cancer in the UK, with approximately 80,000 new patients diagnosed annually. The majority are treated easily, however some types such as squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), can spread and be life threatening. Recently, advanced blood tests have been developed to help identify patients with SCCs that might spread. However, the tests have not been evaluated in the ‘real world’. This study will run these tests on groups of patients with SCC to ensure test accuracy. The aim is to be able to identify patients before the cancer has spread and provide early treatment

Victoria Giblin

Consultant Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon Sheffield Hospital FT

 

Wound healing – A sweet solution.

Wounds from burns and trauma, seen in all age groups, body areas, all over the world, often struggle to heal. Delayed healing, with countless unpleasant dressing changes, leads to worse, tighter scarring associated with disability, risks of recurrent infection and diminished quality of life for 1000s worldwide. Where healthy blood supply can be generated in the wound bed all these factors improve. Certain sugars appear to encourage blood vessel formation, are resistant to destruction by bacteria and can be incorporated into simple dressings currently used in these wound types, leading to better, faster wound healing.

Research Fellowships

Li Yenn Yong

In vivo integration of 3D printed capillary networks

Free tissue transfer is used to replace tissues lost through disease, cancer and trauma.  This often involves complex reconstruction with tissue being donated from one part to another, usually resulting in significant donor site morbidity.  Therefore, patients too fragile for major surgery are often denied this treatment option.

The ability to 3D print blood vessels using stem cells opens a new dimension of treatment with tissue and organs being produced in the laboratory and being made to order ‘off the shelf’.  This project aims to produce tissues using this technology and investigate its compatibility with the body.

Lewis Dingle 

Proteomic study of complex wounds

2 million wounds are managed by the NHS every year.  Most wounds heal successfully, however significant numbers do not, such as leg ulcers, causing significant pain and distress.  Treatments can take weeks or even months, with episodes of infection and frequent trips to hospital.  We do not understand why wounds fail to heal.  By studying proteins produced by complex wounds, they hope to identify markers to predict wound healing and develop new treatments.

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