Research News

Biomedical Catalyst (Round 8) winners announced

Friday, 21 August 2015 14:37

The MRC has announced that 12 new treatments, diagnostics and medical technologies will receive funding from the eighth round of the successful Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) programme jointly run by Innovate UK and the MRC, which contributed £13m of the total £18m in this round.

Two of the 7 MRC-funded projects are in gastroenterology.

Targeted therapy for inflammatory bowel disease


Crohn's disease is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease, which can cause severe symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhoea and weight loss, but for which there is currently no cure. Existing therapies are focused on reducing inflammation of the bowel lining and providing temporary relief of symptoms, but researchers at KCL and the NIHR Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre are searching for a cure. The team are the first in the world to trial a personalised treatment using T cell therapy in patients with the disease with the hope that, if successful, their research could help other debilitating autoimmune disorders.

Spotting bowel cancer sooner with a fluorescent dye


Spraying a fluorescent dye onto the lining of the bowel could help doctors distinguish between normal and cancerous tissue in the bowel. Normal endoscopy to look for bowel cancer can only spot visible, physical changes to the lining of the bowel. Researchers at the University of Oxford will trial the new approach in 50 patients which will coat the bowel in the dye - it will only stick to healthy tissue leaving a 'black spot' where cancerous cells are. They hope that the technique will help spot cancers earlier, when it's more likely that they can be treated successfully.

BSG Trainee Member wins a UEGW 2015 Top Abstract Prize

Monday, 27 July 2015 15:44

BSG Trainee Member Edmund Derbyshire has won 10,000 Euro from UEG for his abstract "Colonoscopic perforations in the English NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (NHSBCSP) - beware diagnostic perforations and the sigmoid colon". This is one of five prizes awarded for the top abstracts each year. Further details of this prize are available on the UEG website. The BSG would like to congratulate Dr Derbyshire on his achievement.

Cambridge MRC Cancer Research Unit release 'pill on a string' for diagnosing oesophageal cancer

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 07:21

Julie Solomon, BSG Head of Research and Learning

BSG member Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald and her team have developed a less intrusive but more effective way to sample the cells lining the oesophagus. This method uses the CytoSponge™, a compressed open-fibre sponge that opens up once in the throat and can be retrieved easily using an attached cord. The open texture and size of the sponge increase the probability of finding pre-cancerous tissue that might otherwise have been missed by more conventional endoscopic biopsy techniques. An additional benefit of gathering more tissue has been the ability to track changes in the cells that could indicate a change to cancerous tissue. Detecting these changes early is essential, because oesophageal cancer is very difficult to treat. [Professor Fitzgerald won the UEG Research Prize in 2014 for the project to develop CytoSponge™: "Combination of quantifiable genomic assays with a patient friendly non-endoscopic cell retrieval device called Cytosponge™ for management of patients with Barrett's oesophagus".] The BSG congratulates Professor Fitzgerald on her achievements.

Gastroenterology-led TRIGGER trial of transfusion strategies for GI bleeding published in the Lancet

Wednesday, 15 July 2015 12:38

TRIGGER is a multicentre randomised pilot trial comparing red blood cell transfusion strategies for Acute Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding (AUGIB). Through the examination of liberal and restrictive policies for transfusion, TRIGGER established that, with further research, the way AUGIB is treated in the UK could change significantly, benefitting patients and producing significant cost savings for the NHS.

This work directly followed on from the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG)-supported UK national audit of GI bleeding, which was led by Kel Palmer and others. The trial was delivered through a successful collaboration within and between UK gastroenterology centres and other groups. Prof John McLaughlin, the BSG's Research Committee Chairman while the trial was being carried out, said "This fantastic piece of work shows the power of collaborative research. Hopefully the NIHR will support a follow-on study of restrictive transfusion for AUGIB, which has the potential to benefit individual patients and the NHS as a whole."

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