Research Impact 1 and 2

Diagnosing heart disease

Diagnosing heart disease

Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death globally.  In 2008 17.3 million people died from CVDs by 2030 it is estimated that thihs will increase to 23.3 million.  Wave intensity analysis (WIA) is a method for characterising pressure and flow waves in arteries.  It is used to assess whether patients need interventions to reduce narrowing of their coronary arteries. Conventional diagnoses required the use of a drug that was costly, time consuming to administer and had unpleasant side-effects.

WIA method:

  1. Clinically used to diagnose narrowing (stenosis) of coronary arteries.
  2. Replaces t he need for drugs in the dagnosis of coronary heart disease.
  3. Is in routine clinical use in 20 centres, across 3 continents.
  4. Increases throughput by halving hte time taken for procedure.
  5. Reduces side effects for patients
  6. Can be used for patient groups that cannot tolerate drug-based method and previously depended upon unreliable imaging based methods.
  7. Has been used in 650 cased (by July 2013)
Improving cancer treatments

Improving cancer treatments

Liver cancer incidence rates have increased overall in Great Britain since the mid-1970s.  Resection (removing part of an organ) is theoretically an ideal method for treating liver cancer as the liver can regenerate, but it causes extensive blood loss.  The Bioengineering team developed a bipolar electrode system that employs RF current to coagulate a track in the liver; the track can then be cut without bleeding.

Research has led to:

  1. Prototypes successfully tested in pre-clinical and clinical trials.
  2. 20,000 single-use devices (value: US$40M) sold under licence by AngioDynamics, with an estimated saving of >800 lives.
  3. A dramatic reduction in complications, intensive care, blood transfusions, and hospital stay.
  4. Many further bipolar devices developed and in current clinical use.  Sold by Imperial spin-out Emcision:
  • Hexablate: a hexagonal array of needles developed for ablating liver tumours.  This device treats a larger area of tissue over a shorter time than monopolar devices and the tumour periphery where metastatic cells preferentially reside.
  • Vescoag: a device developed to block blood vessels, removing the blood supply to the tumour.
  • EndoHPB: a device developed to maintain the patency of ducts during pancreatic and biliary cancers ensuring hte patient is stron enough to benefit from chemotherapy.

Research Impact 2 and 3

Mitigating blast injury

Mitigating blast injury

Roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices are the leading cause of death or injury for service personnel on operations in Afganistan and Iraq.  Yet today, thanks to improvements in both military protection and medical science, the prospect of survival from such injuries has never been higher.  That's why it is vital that we learn all we can about the effects of these devices and the injuries they cause to improve protection, mitigation, treatment and recovery.

Research has:

  1. Led to changes in posture and placement of personnel in Army vehicles to reduce injury
  2. Informed DSTL floor mat design policy
  3. Informed NATO Task Force group concerning standards for accepting battlefield vehicles
  4. Altered assessment criteria for, and timing of, amputations following heel injury.
  5. Changed clinical practice for pelvic injuries in Afghanistan and major civilian trauma centres
  6. Been used n a US $80M commercial development of military crash test dummies
Monitoring brain injury

Monitoring brain injury

In Europe, an estimated 1.7 million people sustain traumatic brain injury per year; out of these 110,000 die.  The biosensor developed uses rapid-sampling microdialysis to detect ischemia (restricted blood supply to tissue) during spreading electrical depolarisations.  This innovation has given new insights to the brain health of patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury.  The biosensor is implanted into tissue at risk and provides a real-time readout of chemical markers of metabolism.

Research has led to:

  1. Improvements in diagnostic precision via the local continuous real-time monitoring method.
  2. Monitoring equipment influencing clinical decision making
  3. Through clinical-research collaborative network 6 centres use the monitoring equipment and 15 neurosurgeons and 30 intensive care nurses have been trained in how to use it.
  4. Understanding the relationship between spreading depolarisations and outcome after traumatic brain injury.
  5. Improved outcomes with application of technology to other tissue types including reconstructive surgery following cancer treatment.