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International research agreement set to transform wound care

An innovative research agreement will put patients first in a bid to advance technology in the treatment and management of wounds saving valuable time and money for health organisations throughout the world and helping to deliver safe and effective care.

The University of Strathclyde has started work on a three-year research collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) in Qatar, following funding from the illustrious Qatar Foundation through its Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF).

The research will focus on sensors for advanced wound care, developing new pH sensors for wound dressings as part of the study of wounds, moisture and pH in the main government hospitals in Qatar.

Staff and students from the University of Strathclyde will have the opportunity to spend time in Qatar conducting joint research with counterparts from HMC visiting Scotland to work on the project.

Wound diagnostics is a key element of the United Kingdom Department of Health's 3 million lives programme aimed at improving the lives of people through telehealth and telecare, transforming the way patients are treated.

WoundSense, a moisture sensor developed by Strathclyde spin-out company Ohmedics, will be used as part of the study to improve treatment for patients, bringing faster relief and reducing the need for hospital treatment.

Professor Patricia Connolly, CEO of Ohmedics and a bioengineer at the University of Strathclyde, said: "Wound diagnostics and the management of wounds in patients is a critical area in the healthcare sector and this research collaboration allows us the opportunity to radically advance current technology.

"At Strathclyde, we have been at the forefront of recent technological developments in the field and by working with HMC we can extend our international reach and make further improvements."

"Significant investment has been made in encouraging patients to self-diagnose without the need for direct hospital treatment this is central to the aim of our research collaboration, empowering patients and giving them control over their own healthcare."

In addition, Strathclyde researcher Steven Milne will spend a year in Qatar working extensively with some of the world's leading healthcare professionals in the move towards elevating patient diagnostics to a new level.

The science lead for HMC is Dr. Ihab Seoudi, Assistant Executive Director of Strategic Planning, with Dr. Hanadi Al Hamad, Consultant in Geriatric Medicine, taking the clinical lead.

Dr. Al Hamad said: "HMC is committed to delivering high quality care, and wound care is vital to this. The partnership will enable us to radically improve outcomes for our patients, it will mean less time in hospital. We are pleased to be a part of this unique study which highlights the value of sharing information and best practice.

Dr. Al Hamad added: "The project represents an important step for HMC as it establishes a solid research foundation in the field of clinical diagnostics. As HMC works with its partners to establish the region's first Academic Health System, the partnership with the University of Strathclyde and Professor Connolly's team is an example of collaborative efforts to bring cutting edge technologies from bench to bedside and make real and lasting impacts on the delivery of high quality care."

Established in 2006 by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development to build a research culture for the country and advance its development as a knowledge-based economy, QNRF fosters original, competitively selected research in a variety of fields, including medicine. Encouraging dialogue and partnerships, both locally and internationally, is an essential part of its mission.

Qatar Foundation views research as essential to national and regional growth, as the means to diversify the nation's economy, enhance educational offerings and develop areas that affect the community, such as health and the environment.

The international collaboration with Strathclyde is the latest project to aid research and development, already in place with a number of US-based universities and a small number in the UK.

Dr Alan Lindsay, Industrial Manager in the University of Strathclyde's Institute of Medical Devices, said: "This is an excellent example of how an international collaboration between academia, industry and the clinical community can address profound changes in both patient and societal need.

"As a major technological university we are delighted to be working collaboratively with SME companies such as Ohmedics Ltd as well as major international organisations like Hamad Medical Corporation. "

Contact: John Beaton
University of Strathclyde

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