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Research

Research is key to finding better ways of diagnosing and treating conditions and improving the technology and equipment. Our current research projects include finding ways to improve transplantation, using immunotherapy as the new chemotherapy treatment and understanding and treating conditions such as diabetes, dementia, pancreatic cancer and haemophilia.

Early lung cancer diagnosis

The pioneering ‘ambulatory lung biopsy service’ at Barnet Hospital, Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust is led by Dr Sam Hare, Consultant Chest Radiologist. This innovative biopsy method, hailed as a ‘gamechanger’ for lung cancer, won the inaugural NHS Innovation Challenge Prize for Cancer Care in 2016  In particular, this award highlighted unparalleled early lung cancer diagnosis & improved patient experience. The service, publicised in the Times and BBC news, has empowered patients and allowed access to newer lung cancer therapies, even in more complex patients who are often declined lung biopsy at other institutions.

The aim of the new lung cancer FALCON fund is to allow all NHS patients access to earlier lung cancer diagnosis. Truly, the Fight Against Lung Cancer is On (FALCON). Read more about lung diagnosis.

The team will be offereing training courses to share their best parctices and techniques which will be shown on the events page.

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Amyloidosis Research

Amyloidosis is a rare disease caused by the build-up of an abnormal protein (amyloid) in tissues and organs of the body, interfering with their function. The amyloid deposits occasionally only affect one part of the body (localised amyloidosis), but more often several different parts of the body are affected (systemic amyloidosis), such as the heart, kidneys, liver, or nerves.

The NHS National Amyloidosis Centre at the Royal Free is the only centre in the UK specialising in amyloidosis and one of the world’s leading centres for amyloid research. The team of highly qualified clinical, research and support staff provides a comprehensive clinical service for patients with all types of acquired and hereditary systemic amyloidosis. Ongoing research enables advanced diagnosis and treatments.

You can support this research through fundraising or making a donation.

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Breast Cancer

The PEM (Positron Emission Mammography) machine, purchased thanks to a generous donor makes earlier detection of breast cancer easier. The PEM is particularly useful in younger patients with dense breasts, when it is often harder to detect cancer using a mammogram. The PEM is also more comfortable for patients as there is no breast compression involved; the patient just has to lie face down.

It is a useful diagnostic tool. Patients who are screened using the PEM are also helping with high quality clinical research and the data and results are analysed which help improve diagnosis and treatment for future patients. Diagnosis and research into breast cancer is carried out by Prof  Mo Keshtgar, Breast Cancer consultant and surgeon.

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Myeloma

Myeloma is a cancer that affects cells in the bone marrow called plasma cells. As the cancerous plasma cells fill the bone marrow, the body is not able to make enough normal blood cells. This can lead to anaemia, bleeding problems and infections.

Through the support of the Royal Free Charity, Dr Andrea Knight is working in collaboration with a team from the Czech Myeloma Group in Brno, analysing bone marrow samples from patients at different stages of Multiple Myeloma. This is ground-breaking research into this disease, which remains incurable, and it is hoped that the study will lead to a novel tumour immunotherapy.

The myeloma practice at the Royal Free Hospital sees approximately 30 newly diagnosed patients each year and follows over 100 patients through treatment at any one time.

To help us fund similar research projects please donate

Pancreatic Cancer

The Rapid Diagnostic Pathway Project  (Started November 2014)

A three year multicentre project into early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. This UCL project is led by Dr Steve Pereira and sponsored by charitable funds, including Pancreatic Cancer UK, Gemma Fund, Nicki’s Smile as well our charity fund Fiorina. Its aims are to identify patients with early pancreatic cancer by testing symptomatic “high risk” patients with a panel of blood biomarkers. Validation of a diagnostic biomarkers panel combined with “symptoms tool” for early detection of pancreatic cancer could potentially save hundreds of lives in the UK every year.

Research findings so far into identifying early biomarkers for pancreatic cancer are promising. The project has also found that some early symptoms which patients have reported are often not recognised as possible pancreatic cancer in its early stages. The study aims to adopt these promising biomarkers for pancreatic cancer into routine clinical practice as well as alternative diagnostic strategies.

Our aim is to reduce the delay between the appearance of symtoms and a confirmed diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. This project brings together subject experts from London and Liverpool to join the dots between symptoms, early markers of the disease and access to treatment. We should be able to identify and treat patients quickly and more efficiently to give them the best chance against pancreatic cancer.

Our findings will also provide primary care physicians (such as GP’s) with a Rapid Diagnostic Pathway for patients with pancreatic cancer.

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Organ & Tissue Replacement

Conventional transplantation cannot meet the demand for replacing failing organs, a growing problem with the increasing age of the population. The lack of an ideal scaffold is what limits the clinical success being translated into routine treatments for thousands of patients with severe disorders of the ear, nose, throat and face. Achieving this goal would improve the length and quality of life for many patients.

Current work in a new generation of scaffolds for tissue engineering using biological-polymer composites is centered on using nanocomposite materials. Working with nanoparticles requires a state-of-the-art electron microscope (ESEM) which the team was able to purchase with a grant from the Royal Free Charity. This microscope is essential for research and the development of organs within a clinical setting using materials and biological cells and/or tissue. For the development of organs, the team use scaffolds and stem cells in bioreactors and the ESEM is the only method of seeing how the stem cells are incorporated into the scaffold material.

To help us fund similar research project please donate

Haemophilia

Haemophilia refers to a group of hereditary blood disorders that prevent the body from properly controlling blood clotting or coagulation. Patients with these blood disorders can experience a wide range of haemophilia symptoms, such as vitamin deficiencies and prolonged bleeding. Through research treatment the survival rate of patients has transformed from 10yrs to a normal life expectancy.

The Katharine Dormandy haemophilia and thrombosis centre is celebrating 50 years of improving treatments through research and is currently raising funds for a £500,000 research project that will transform the lives of the next generation of haemophilia patients.

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HIV

Research into HIV is creating breakthrough treatments which have transformed the lives of HIV diagnosed patients over recent years. Through the Ian Charleston Day Centre (ICDC) patients recieve support and testing and advanced research translates into advanced diagnosis and care. 

You can support ICDC through donations or taking part in HIV clinical trials to help find the treatments for the future.

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