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Pump Priming Projects

We provide funding in partnership with The Royal College of Surgeons of England to kick-start a research project in the field of burns, wound healing or soft tissue reconstruction over a 12 month period. The objective is to enable the researcher to use the fruits of that initial research as a basis for future larger-scale funding applications.

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Mr Matthew Gardiner

Joint distraction for treatment of base of thumb osteoarthritis (2017-18)

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.


Mr Fadi George Issa

Detecting dangerous skin cancer early (2017-18)

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

Impact statement to follow
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Mr Adam Reid

Measuring nerve regeneration with light and sound (2018-19)

Peripheral nerve injury is common with approximately 9000 cases in the UK occurring each year in mainly young and working people. Despite the best surgical treatment, these injuries are life changing with almost half of patients unable to return to work. Patients experience problems such as lack of feeling/movement in the hands and frequently pain. Although the problems are understood, new treatments have not reached patients because we cannot measure nerve regeneration accurately enough. This research aims to use new non-invasive methods similar to standard ultrasound scanning to measure nerve regeneration in patients.

Impact statement to follow
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Ms Victoria Giblin

Wound healing – a sweet solution (2017-18)

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.

Impact statement to follow
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Mr Jonathan Cubitt

Emergency escharotomy in burns patients (2019-20)

Burns can be serious, life or limb threatening injuries. They can affect patients of any age or gender. They are normally managed in specialist burns centres, however, these patients will be first assessed at a local hospital before being referred on. There are some aspects of burns care that are extremely time sensitive including fluid resuscitation to try to reduce the general effects of the burn on the patient’s body and emergency surgery to divide burnt tissue on the limbs to allow blood flow or on the chest to allow ventilation of the lungs. This surgery is called escharotomy. The aim of this research is to optimize the delivery of this emergency surgery through the development of a surgical simulator. This will mean that surgical trainees or accident and emergency department doctors will be adequately trained to perform escharotomies and therefore improve patient outcome.

Impact statement to follow
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Mr Chris Lewis

Combined laser for burn scar treatment (2020-21)

After a burn, some peoples’ scars become raised and lumpy; this affects up to two-thirds of patients. These scars are red and firm and can affect a patient’s physical and psychological quality of life, causing itch, dryness, pain and problems with joint movement. Laser is relatively new for the treatment of burn scars. This study will combine two lasers used to treat scars to see whether they work better together, improve scar appearance and joint movement, and reduce the need for surgery. This study is unique, as we will assess what patients think of their scars after treatment.

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Mr David Leonard

Microbial “fingerprints” on hand transplants (2020-21)

Many arm amputees find prosthetics helpful, but for those who do not, hand transplants can prove life changing. Despite immunosuppressive medicine, patients’ immune systems attack transplants, causing rejection, which needs extra treatment. Some patients reject more than others do, and we do not fully understand why. Many essential bacteria live on all of us, and keep us healthy. These bacteria change with illness and medication, and even effect how some transplants work. This study will discover how our passenger bacteria impact hand transplants. This will help early diagnosis of rejection, so it can be treated with less medicine and fewer side effects.

Impact statement to follow
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Mr William Breakey

Surgical outcomes improved by tracking eye movements (2020-21)

Human interactions begin with unconscious evaluation of the visual characteristics of one another, we immediately assess familiarity and attractiveness; and make near-instantaneous evaluations of any facial deformity. In the UK 1 in 700 children are born with a disfiguring cleft lip and (or) palate. Most will require at least one surgical procedure, the first being a cleft lip repair. Success here is exceptionally important, as following the aforementioned initial evaluation, emotional responses and behaviour towards that person are then modified. We will develop; (through eye tracking) an unbiased assessment tool used to perfect surgical technique, train surgeons of the future and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Impact statement to follow
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