This submission presented work carried out in the biomedical science area within the School of Science and Technology at Middlesex University. Back in 2008, the Research Assessment Exercise placed our biomedical science research in the top half of Unit of Assessment, giving the university confidence and the impetus to develop and grow.
The increase in researchers at a level suitable for REF submission, interdisciplinary working with the strong bioinformatics team in computer science, our excellent infrastructure and a strong emphasis on developing new researchers have moved us into a position to build upon these foundations into a world-class research unit.
A total of 16 members of staff are involved, working in three research groups focused on the following areas: biophysics and bioengineering; biomarkers; and molecular biology.
The individual Unit of Assessment case studies are:
Computational research in boundary problems conducted by Middlesex University's Dr Andrew Tizzard and Professor Richard Bayford applied to bio-imaging using Electrical Impedance Tomography for imaging brain function, lung function and tumour detection, and the development of optical tomography of brain function in neonates.
This research project resulted in the contribution of several public domain, open-source resources to the international industrial and commercial research communities, such as novel reconstruction algorithms, geometric models for generating accurate finite element and boundary element forward models and methods to generate subject-specific forward models. It has also resulted in two patents.
Summary: Our research has underpinned the work of Celldex Therapeutics and other US-based companies in developing a vaccine directed against hCGβ for the adjuvant treatment of epithelial cancer. A number of Phase I trials indicated an improvement in survival of vaccinated patients, and Phase II trials began for bladder cancer where early data showed promise by improving the survival time. This has had a significant impact on these patients and has the potential to extend the life of many millions of cancer sufferers (around 32 per cent frequency of hCGβ secretion by carcinomas). Our research input has helped prove the technology and further trials are awaiting finance.