Navigation Links
Engineering innovative solutions for 21st century medicine
Date:6/25/2009

The Wellcome Trust and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have today (Thursday) announced joint funding for four new Centres of Excellence in Medical Engineering to transform the future of healthcare.

Engineers have been at the forefront of medical innovation throughout the history of medicine, benefiting millions of people with tools such as implants and prosthetic limbs, devices to monitor the physiological state of patients, and instruments to maintain bodily functions, such as the implantable pacemaker. As both medicine and engineering continue to advance at great pace, it is crucial that the links between these disciplines are maintained, especially with the potential for groundbreaking advances in fields such as imaging and genetics.

In the UK, the population is ageing people are living longer thanks to modern medicine. But as we get older, our bodies need more help to support us. Medical engineering will play an important role in meeting this growing demand:

  • It's estimated there are up to 4 million operations in the world each year as a result of osteoarthritis. Better techniques to diagnose osteoarthritis combined with more tailored interventions could mean a choice of earlier and less intrusive treatments for the most common cause of chronic pain;

  • In 2006 in the UK, there were 130,000 hip and knee replacement operations but demand is growing all the time as more and more people live long enough to wear out their joints. A new generation of implants will reduce the need for further replacements, avoiding costly and painful surgery;

  • New imaging technologies have the potential to predict stroke and heart attack, improve early detection of cancer, help surgeons perform less invasive operations, and even play a role in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric illness, potentially helping millions of people each year;

  • Tissue engineering technology has the potential to use patients' own cells to correct degenerative disease , but the processes of applying these techniques needs to be practical and efficient if they are to achieve their potential.

Four interdisciplinary research teams at Imperial College London, King's College London, University of Leeds and Oxford University will receive a combined total of 41 million over the next five years. The funding will help to develop integrated teams of clinicians, biomedical scientists and world-class engineers with the capacity to invent high-tech solutions to medical challenges, potentially improving thousands of patients' lives.

Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "Research in medical engineering has been responsible for major advances in healthcare, ranging from ultrasound scanning in pregnancy to hip and knee replacements. The opportunities for engineers and medical scientists to collaborate are endless but all too often are missed because each community operates in its own siloed compartment. I am delighted by this collaboration between the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Wellcome Trust, which will fund four interdisciplinary teams to work on major medical unmet needs."

Professor David Delpy, Chief Executive of EPSRC, said: "The Medical Engineering funding scheme has resonated with existing research programmes across the UK, but it has also stimulated new research teams to consider medical applications of emerging technology. This proves the value of the joint initiative in fostering highly potent partnerships and the new inventions that will result, which could have massive benefit for patients."

Imperial College Osteoarthritis: 11m
Professor Ross Ethier said: "Around 8.5 million people in the UK have osteoarthritis. It is the most common cause of chronic pain and costs the country an estimated 5.5 billion every year directly and indirectly. Our Centre will develop technologies to improve the lives of patients with osteoarthritis. For example, we will create the next generation of hip and knee replacement implants that will last longer and require less invasive surgery to fit. Tissue engineering will also contribute hugely in this area, using patients' own cells to grow new cartilage for osteoarthritic knees. A better understanding of the disease will also lead to new technologies to diagnose and treat osteoarthritis at a much earlier stage."

KCL Medical Imaging: 10m
Professor Reza Razavi said: "Our Medical Engineering Centre will break down the barriers between engineering, the physical sciences, and biology and medicine. We will conduct world-class clinical trials to show the benefit of new discoveries in imaging technology that the centre will produce. I see patients in my clinic every day, so I have a very clear understanding of what they need to make their lives better. Medical imaging has the capacity to give my patients access to new tools for earlier and more precise diagnoses of cancer and heart disease, better targeted therapies, less invasive surgery, and improved techniques for rebuilding tissue after surgery."

Leeds "50 more years after 50": 11m
Professor John Fisher said: "While more of us are living longer, our bones, joints and cardiovascular systems continue to degenerate as we age. At Leeds, we are looking how to help the skeleton, muscles and cardiovascular system support our bodies as we get older, through improved prosthetic implants and technologies to help our tissues regenerate. We are also looking to understand the process of degeneration so we can accurately diagnose its early stages and deliver appropriate and timely interventions. Our work is all driven by the concept of 50 more years after 50 making our second 50 years as healthy, comfortable and active as our first."

Oxford Personalised healthcare: 8m
Professor Lionel Tarassenko said: "Much of the 20th Century was devoted to developing treatments that are broadly effective in most people. However, it has become clear that long-term conditions such as asthma, diabetes and cancer are best managed by taking into account how the individual is responding to their particular therapy. We will be developing techniques and strategies to precisely measure individuals' response to their condition and therapies, and use those measurements to adjust and improve the way the person is being treated. This approach could have real impact on survival rates and improve the quality of life for people living with long-term conditions, from birth through to old age."


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael Regnier
m.regnier@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7262
Wellcome Trust
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Innovative civil engineering application promises cleaner waters
2. UC-San Diego Engineering Honor Society wins most outstanding chapter award
3. UCSD bioengineering grad student wins leadership award
4. Synaptics SecurePad(TM) Selected as CES Innovations 2008 Design and Engineering Award Honoree
5. Setting a course for the future of tissue engineering
6. UVa biomedical engineering study shows magnetic field can reduce swelling
7. Elsevier launches new journal: Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering
8. In diatom, scientists find genes that may level engineering hurdle
9. Colorado Engineering Firms Win NASA Grant to Develop Innovative Insulation for Next Generation Spacecraft - Super-Insulation May Allow Future Energy Efficient Appliances
10. MIT applies engineering approach to studying biological pathways
11. Sea cliff erosion, hemp construction materials and more at UCSD Engineering Conference
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 KEY FINDINGS The global ... a CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period of ... factor for the growth of the stem cell market. ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is ... geography. The stem cell market of the product is ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) ... ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching technology, pushing contactless ... use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security of access and ... ... A research team led by Dr Ajay Kumar ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... , March 27, 2017  Catholic Health ... and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving ... Adoption Model sm . In addition, CHS previously ... U.S. hospitals using an electronic medical record (EMR). ... its high level of EMR usage in an ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... 27, 2017 , ... Mitotech S.A, a Luxembourg based clinical stage biotechnology company, ... LHON is a rare devastating genetic disease that leads to a sudden and rapid ... of 20 patients carrying 11778, 14484 and 3460 mutations and having experienced the onset ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... Orleans, La. (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Monitoring Technologies today announced a comprehensive rebrand and a name change to ... for the industrial and laboratory monitoring of polymer and biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... 26, 2017 , ... Looking for gift ideas for mom ... offers one-of-a-kind gifts, ranging from gourmet cooking experiences to Farmer’s Market Tours and ... inspired with new cooking tips and techniques, thanks to Chef Jodi Abel’s expertise ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 26, 2017 , ... NextSteps ... and North America this May on the following dates: , ?    London, ... Taylor, Chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute will be the opening ...
Breaking Biology Technology: