London researchers receive prestigious awards | Action Medical Research

London researchers receive prestigious awards

27 July 1999
Talented, young medical researchers in London have been awarded nearly a third of a million pounds to carry out research into childhood diseases. The leading medical charity, Action Research, granted their prestigious Research Training Fellowships to two students who will carry out their studies at the Institute of Child Health. The first grant, worth £159,702, will make it possible for Dr Neil Shah to spend the next three years studying and unusual but important cause of intestinal failure called `congenital tufting enteropathy’. This is a genetic disorder and children who are affected can only survive by being fed nutrients into a large vein throughout their lives. Dr Shah will study in-bred populations in order to understand the genetic nature of this disease. A second research training fellow, Dr Waseem Qasim, has been awarded the Duncan Guthrie Memorial Award. He has been given £154,143 to study bone marrow transplantation in children. As the founder of Action Research, Duncan Guthrie wanted to eradicate many of the serious diseases which so many children used to be exposed. This award is given as a tribute to his pioneering work and to support Action Research Training Fellowships in Child Health. Dr Qasim will study special cells from the donor marrow which are crucial for successful treatment because they help protect against infection and prevent bone marrow rejection. However, these cells can also cause harm to the patient. New research suggests that these special cells can be selectively destroyed if harmful side effects arise. Dr Qasim will test this strategy which, if successful, will benefit children with severe combined immunodeficiencies and leukaemia. Action Research’s Training Fellowships are awarded to young medical or science graduates for training in specific research techniques. From the 94 applications received this year only five were successful. Director General of the charity, Anne Luther, said: ``Neil and Waseem presented us with well thought out projects. I believe this could be the start of successful careers for both of these young men.’’
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