Funding success to develop research on vitamin B12 trial for pregnant women in India

Professor Monica Lakhanpaul, Principal Investigator on our NEON study has successfully applied for funding to develop a major research programme addressing the needs of women and children in India.

Professor Lakhanpaul (pictured below) is leading an application in respond to a call supported by a number of organisations from the UK and India (see below) under the title Global Research Programme; addressing the health needs of women and children in disadvantaged populations globally

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in India, in collaboration with Department of International Development(DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) joint call to fund global health research addressing the health needs of women and children

Successful applicants will build partnerships across the UK and India to execute research that will impact the ability to prevent, diagnose and manage prevalent chronic and infectious diseases facing women and their unborn children in low-and middle-income (LMIC).

By successfully navigating the initial round of the application process (“the concept proposal”) Professor Lakhanpaul has secured a £4000 travel grant to support the development of a partnership for the full proposal development process. Her initial concept proposal was for a vitamin on vitamin B12 trial in pregnant women and children in India.

A full proposal will be made in September for the larger pot of funding.

Monica’s work with the Bangladeshi community in East London is also referenced in a recent blog Can women talking save lives? Reducing inequalities in newborn mortality in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Malawi

 

Developing innovative approaches to increasing awareness of asthma control among young people

In Control

Based on findings from research previously conducted by the school-based asthma project, part of our Child and Adolescent Health Theme, the team have worked with Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre to develop a theatre production addressing asthma control. The theatre piece In Control has been performed in schools since June 2017, and was recently featured as part of the British Science Festival held in Brighton 5th – 9th September 2017.

Photo credit: Gerard Monaco

The aim of the play is to change the perception and image of asthma among young people, in order to help those with asthma feel supported and therefore better able to manage their condition. Written as a collaboration between the theatre and research teams, young people with asthma were involved to advise on the storylines and dialogue to make the play as real and as accessible as possible.

In Control follows a 15-year old girl, Jazz with asthma through a week of detention with two of her classmates. Usually confident and outgoing, Jazz hides that she has asthma and is reluctant to accept help when finding it difficult to breathe. After the play, the protagonist stays in character as the students participate in a discussion of the themes raised, facilitated by the other two actors. Engaging the school audiences through theatre gives a new angle from which to involve young people in thinking and talking about the challenges faced by those with asthma.

Dr Gioia Mosler from QMUL said: “It was an amazing experience seeing the direct emotional effect that a play can have on these school groups. We have been hugely encouraged by the initial reactions to this project and we are already starting to study how effective this kind of intervention can be to help young people deal with their asthma.”

Dr Jonathan Grigg, professor of paediatric respiratory medicine at QMUL and project lead added: “We must develop innovative ways of improving asthma outcomes in children and young people. Our work with Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre has identified a new space where interventions can be delivered and tested outside the standard medical model.”

Photo credit: Tunde Euba

Dr Gioia Mosler, Outreach and Learning Manager for the school-based asthma project, and Tunde Euba, Arts Practitioner working with Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre, have written about the development of In Control for The Lancet: Taking Control Through Drama 

 Asthma Dodge

Also featured at the British Science Festival, was Asthma Dodge – a smartphone game developed in collaboration with the Centre of the Cell, a science education centre at Queen Mary University of London. In the game, the player takes the role of a young person with asthma. The aim is to run as fast as possible to reach the Centre of the Cell, dodging the asthma triggers along the way. Information about asthma is incorporated into the game, such as how asthma affects the airways, how different medication works, and the different types of triggers for asthma symptoms.

The ‘Asthma Dodge’ game can be downloaded from the Apple and Google Play stores; visit the Centre of the Cell website to read more. #Asthma Dodge

School-based Questionnaire on Asthma Control in London Secondary School Children

In a previous study from the school-based asthma project team, questionnaires completed by over 750 secondary school-aged students from schools in London revealed that only 54% of participants were managing their asthma well. Out of those whose asthma was not well controlled, almost half thought they had good asthma control. The school-based questionnaire also highlighted that students often feel uncomfortable about using an inhaler at school.

A short summary of this study can be found here, or read the full paper here.

 

 

Congratulations to CLAHRC HEE NCEL Fellow Pinkie Chambers

Pinkie Chambers, a senior pharmacist at UCLH and former CLAHRC HEE NCEL Fellow is celebrating success in securing a prestigious NIHR Fellowship award.

After spending a year with the CLAHRC to hone her research skills, and against stiff competition, Pinkie secured a Doctoral Research Fellowship (DRF), which offers 3 years full-time funding (or 4 or 5 years part-time) to undertake a PhD.

The DRF is aimed at individuals, of outstanding potential, early in their research careers.

The Fellowship scheme aims to fast-track them through a customised research training programme in an environment reflecting their individual talents and training needs.

It is anticipated that successful applicants would become independent research leaders within 6 to 10 years of completing the DRF award.

During her year with us as a CLAHRC/HEE NCEL Fellow Pinkie developed her skills and worked on her application to the NIHR.

Her areas of interest include improving the chemotherapy pathway for cancer patients, and supporting patients to self-administer some of their blood tests to avoid hospital visits.

As well as her work as a Senior pharmacist at UCLH, Pinkie is also Joint Chair of the London Cancer Chemotherapy Expert Reference Group.

In particular Pinkie was commended by the NIHR for her efforts to involve patients and the public in her work which were described as “exceptional” – thanks in no small part to the CLAHRC’ Research Advisory Panel who Pinkie worked with during her CLAHRC/HEE NCEL Fellowship and who she presented to twice.

Read more about Pinkie’s time with us here

Our congratulations to Pinkie and best wishes for her future career

Is screening for HIV in primary care cost-effective?

Our recently published research on the cost-effectiveness of screening for HIV in primary care has caused a great deal of interest and widespread media coverage.

We have produced a BITE sized summary of the paper with the headline findings and links to further information of interest.

The research, published in The Lancet HIV, represents the first time a model to explore the cost effectiveness of screening for HIV in primary care has been applied to the UK.

Our data provide the most reliable analyses to date and justify the investment needed to deliver HIV screening in primary care in the 74 localities considered to have high HIV prevalence – essentially most UK metropolitan areas.

Researcher and practicing GP Dr Werner Leber from Queen Mary University London said:
“We’ve shown that HIV screening in UK primary care is cost effective and potentially cost saving, which is contrary to widespread belief. This is an important finding given today’s austerity. Financial pressures, particularly within local authority’s public health budgets, mean that the costs of HIV testing are under intense scrutiny, and in some areas investment in testing has fallen.”

CLAHRC asthma awareness video is making an impact

Our Behind the Jump video is impacting young people with asthma.

Our asthma schools study worked with Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre (GLYPT) to produce the short asthma awareness film shot at the LEAP Parkour Park in Westminster, London.

A recent comment has high praise for the film

“The timing of the release of this video after the recent tragedy within our community felt particularly important. I’ve been asthmatic since I was three years old, and have a lung capacity so pitiful that it shocks and confuses doctors every time I get retested (“are you sure you did the test right??”) but when I’m out training Parkour I always feel my healthiest. I should be less lazy about using my inhalers, this was a good reminder. Great video.”