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Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy

Overview of Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy

This submission presented work carried out by researchers in the Departments of Natural Sciences; Design Engineering and Mathematics; and Adult, Child and Midwifery at Middlesex University. A total of 32 researchers were involved, working in four research groups: Biophysics and Bioengineering; Biomarkers and Molecular Biology; Public Health Policy; and Nursing Research.

  • REF 2021 Impact Case Studies

    • Electrical Impedance Tomography

      The impact we achieved 

      This research project has pioneered the use of Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT), which can be used to image organ function in real time (100 images/second). Compared with existing technology it is highly portable, inexpensive and lends itself readily to remote imaging to save lives. The project's key impacts are:

      • Provision of imaging algorithms and clinical analysis impacting on clinical software
      • Creation of the largest clinical data store for EIT clinical data in the world (> 50TBytes) for use by clinicians and industrial/academic researchers
      • Development of new wearable hardware for application on patents impacting on clinical usability of EIT
      • Successful use for monitoring pre-term neonates in the largest clinical study undertaken to date and for identifying key parameters for the clinical management of neonates with respiratory conditions impacting on clinical practices
      • Cost saving of €928 to €10,705 per patient in the Dutch setting, or €1,124 to €8,496 per patient in the German setting
      • Ongoing work with Printed Electronics Limited (PEL), a UK-based technology company, to develop print on flexible printed circuits for the EIT neonate system.

      The research behind it

      The impact described above evolved from a series of specific developments employing EIT, including:

      • Successful generation of the first 2D images of impedance change inside the human head using EIT (1996 –2003)
      • A range of clinical applications and the development of a method of automatically generating subject-specific FE models (2003-2007) and, since 2008, the development of a further algorithm
      • Development of algorithms and hardware for image reconstruction, parameter measurement and boundary form generation (since 2016), culminating in the first large scale study monitoring the lung function of 200 neonates (preterm, high risk) for 72 hours each
      • Clinical system for use in neonatal intensive care units, and further developments to clinical hardware for bedside monitoring of lung gestation of pre-term neonates.

      The research continued to flourish and diversify throughout the coronavirus pandemic when we repurposed the hardware and techniques for monitoring COVID-19 pneumonia in adult ITUs.

      The people involved at Middlesex and beyond

      The Middlesex research team behind the project consists of Professor Richard Bayford, Dr Andrew Tizzard, and Dr Andy Bardill.

      Along the way, the team has collaborated with several universities, hospitals and industry partners – locally, nationally and globally – including the Great Ormond Street Hospital and UCL (UK); Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu (Finland), Nicosia General Hospital (Cyprus), Sentec (previously called Swisstom) and Emergex (UK); and Dartmouth College and Florida State University (USA).

      Read the PDF of the case study submission

    • Improving Health Outcomes through monitoring, improving diagnosis, and access to treatment

      The impact we achieved

      This research project addressed global non-communicable disease (NCD) challenges, impacting on both public policy, and health and wellbeing. The World Health Organization's (WHO) NCD Global Monitoring Framework (WHO-GMF) enables global tracking of progress in preventing and controlling major NCDs and their key risk factors. The project's key impacts are:

      • Generation of a worldwide risk factor database used by WHO enabling global tracking of NCD prevention and control
      • Evaluation of body fatness links to cancer led to WHO-supported lifelong dietary improvement and physical activity strategies
      • Inclusion of non-vitamin K anticoagulants in WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for atrial fibrillation treatment – a key milestone in stroke prevention
      • Contribution to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence evaluation of tumour profiling tests guiding personalised breast cancer treatment
      • Development of new generation of instrumentation to improve diseases’ detection and diagnosis
      • Development of testing for pre-eclampsia prediction allowing early intervention and treatment.

      The research behind it

      Our Public Health and Biomarker Research Groups have a proven track record in the analysis of cardio-metabolic risk factors and the identification of novel biomarkers for a range of pathologies linked with cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Specifically, the impact described above evolved from Middlesex research across global health and clinical innovation commencing in 2006 including:

      • Epidemiological research on the global burden of metabolic risk factors which led to the creation of the largest dataset of metabolic risk factors using over 3,000 population-based surveys with more than 130 million participants
      • Work on health inequalities focusing on the burden of malnutrition and access to treatment for stroke prevention in low and middle-income countries
      • Development of novel drug-resistant cell models of cancer and tools for the discovery of biomarkers for drug-resistant cancers
      • Design of mass spectrometry methodology resulting in a new platform used to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous cells
      • Research and clinical trial work in reproductive medicine, alongside analytical methodology.

      The people involved at Middlesex and beyond

      The Middlesex research team behind the project were led by Professor Ajit Shah, Dr Frank Hills, Dr Mariachiara Di Cesare, and Dr Britta Stordal.

      The team has collaborated with universities, research centres and industry partners including: WHO Collaborating Centre on NCD Surveillance Epidemiology at Imperial College London, King’s College London, Iduron Ltd, and Ascend Diagnostics (UK).

      Read the PDF of the case study submission

    • Effective methods to study and locate the physical properties of gold nanoparticles in medical application to improve clinical effectiveness

      The impact we achieved

      The development of new drug therapies costs up to £4bn to reach FDA approval stage however many therapies are not reliable despite this significant investment. For example, approximately 99% of drugs administered through freely circulating methods do not reach their target site.

      This work focuses on the use and understanding of gold nanoparticles (GNP) for more effective and targeted therapies with the following impacts:

      • Using imaging to track these nanoparticles in humans in real time and improve the delivery of therapeutic drugs and therapies
      • Improving targeted therapies and optimising therapeutic intervention including for the development of new vaccines
      • Working with industrial partners to develop ground-breaking technologies for therapies including for cancer, dementia, and COVID-19, which could significantly reduce the side effects associated with other treatments like chemotherapies.

      The research behind it

      Our research is focused on the use and understanding of GNP including in the delivery of therapeutic drugs which is of considerable importance for pharmaceutical research and industry.

      The underpinning research looked at:

      • Tracking GNP using Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT)
      • Heating GNPs to kill cancer cells working with industrial partners
      • Using Electrical Impedance Tomography to image GNPs in colorectal cancer using from the EPSRC Grand Challenge
      • Application for cancer and vaccines including COVID-19.

      The people involved at Middlesex and beyond

      Our research team included Professor Richard Bayford, Dr Song Wen and Professor Ajit Shah.

      We worked with industrial partners Emergex vaccines, Proxima Concepts and Ascend Diagnostics. We collaborated with Imperial College London and Institute of Nano-Resolution Optics at Nanjing University.

      Read the PDF of the case study submission

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