Grants awarded to top Cambridge researchers to help sick babies and children | Action Medical Research

Grants awarded to top Cambridge researchers to help sick babies and children

13 January 2012

Leading research teams in Cambridge have been given over £300,000 in grants by children’s charity Action Medical Research, to carry out studies which aim to help reduce the suffering of sick babies and children.

The charity has been supporting significant medical breakthroughs for nearly 60 years, and has today announced the grants awarded to institutions in Cambridge totalling £323,581 for work on epilepsy in babies and understanding contractions in premature birth. (see below for full grant details)

None of the charity’s work would be possible without the generosity of people who make donations, raise funds and take part in events, as well as our trust and corporate partners.

Dr Alexandra Dedman, Senior Research Evaluation Manager, said: “At Action Medical Research we are determined to stop the suffering of babies and children caused by disease and disability. We know that medical research can save and change children’s lives. The charity finds and funds some of the best medical research in the world for the benefit of babies, children and young people.

“Our gold standard scientific review process ensures that we only fund the best doctors and researchers in children’s hospitals, specialist units and universities across the UK and we are delighted to announce these grant awards.”

The full details of the grants awarded are as follows:

Epilepsy in babies – improving seizure detection - £131,150 awarded over two years to researchers at The Rosie Hospital, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, in conjunction with University College London

Newborn babies and young infants who are unwell often suffer with epileptic seizures associated with injury to the developing brain. Seizures in the young can be difficult to identify but as prolonged seizures can damage the brain, it is important to detect and treat them early. The project aims to use a new technique to improve the ability to diagnose seizures in this vulnerable patient group. If successful, the technique could be developed for clinical use in the future.

Premature birth: could a natural antioxidant protect vulnerable babies? - £192,431 awarded over three years to researchers at The Rosie Hospital, University of Cambridge.

Premature birth in the UK causes approximately 1,000-1,500 deaths per year accounting for around 30 per cent all infant death. One of the causes of complications following premature birth is that the baby is exposed to a sudden increase in oxygen levels and lack the protective mechanisms to cope with this. The researchers have previously identified a protein called PON3 which increases prior to birth in babies and which they believe protects the baby from the sudden increase in oxygen. In this study, the researchers will use a laboratory model to determine whether low levels of PON3 result in oxygen related damage to tissues and whether giving synthetic PON3 can reverse this effect. If both findings are positive, this could lead ultimately to studies with premature babies.

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Action Medical Research - the leading UK-wide medical research charity dedicated to helping babies and children - is celebrating 60 years of vital research in 2012. We’ve been funding medical breakthroughs since we began in 1952 and have spent more than £100 million on research that has helped save thousands of children’s lives and changed many more. Today, we continue to find and fund the very best medical research to help stop the suffering of babies and children caused by disease and disability. We want to make a difference in:

  • tackling premature birth and treating sick and vulnerable babies
  • helping children affected by disability, disabling conditions and infections
  • targeting rare diseases that together severely affect many forgotten children

But there is still so much more to do. Make 2012 a special year and help fund more life-changing research for some of the UK’s sickest babies and children.

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