Three new Research Training Fellowships awarded by children’s charity | Action Medical Research

Three new Research Training Fellowships awarded by children’s charity

28 March 2011

Action Medical Research, the leading UK-wide medical research charity dedicated to helping babies and children, has today announced it is funding three new Research Training Fellowships worth more than half a million pounds. 

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. 
We support promising doctors and researchers early in their careers through our prestigious Research Training Fellowships ensuring high quality research both now and in the future. Today, the charity is proud to announce the latest recipients of its Research Training Fellowship programme: 
•Dr Miriam Schmidts, from the Molecular Medicine Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College London, was awarded £176,583 to study the molecular basis of Jeune syndrome (also called ATD).
ATD is an incurable genetic disorder affecting bone growth. It is often fatal, or the skeletal problems may cause lifelong physical disabilities. The research project aims to identify and investigate genes that cause ATD. 
•Mr David Wilkinson, from the Department of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, Institute of Child Health, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, and the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, was awarded £139,980 to study stem cell therapy for Hirschsprung’s Disease.
Hirschsprung’s Disease affects 1 in 5,000 newborn babies in the UK and results from a failure of the nerve supply to the bowel to develop. Babies with Hirschsprung’s disease can have a potentially life-threatening bowel obstruction. The current treatment is surgery, which removes the affected portion of the bowel. However despite successful surgery, children with Hirschsprung’s continue to have difficulties. The long term goal of the project is to develop a treatment using a baby’s own stem cells, taken from a small piece of their bowel, to improve nerve supply to the gut. 
•Dr Rebecca Hill, from the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University and Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust, was awarded £204,861 to study the biological mechanisms of disease relapse in childhood medulloblastoma. 
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumour of childhood and is one of the largest contributors to cancer deaths in children. Sadly approximately 40% of patients treated for medulloblastoma will go on to relapse. This research project will investigate patients who suffer from relapsed medulloblastoma to identify genetic patterns and identify potential drug targets. 
Alexandra Dedman, Senior Research Evaluation Manager, said: “The Research Training Fellowship scheme is the cornerstone of Action Medical Research’s commitment to develop the research expertise and skills of the future. 
“By giving the brightest and best doctors and researchers the chance to train in research techniques early in their career, we are helping to ensure that the first-rate medical research work that Action Medical Research has become synonymous with will continue for a long time to come.”
Action Medical Research funds a total of approximately £3 million worth of research grants and training fellowships every year, with grant rounds in the spring and autumn. 
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For further information please contact:
Claudine Powell, Communications Manager
T 01403 327478
Action Medical Research is the leading UK-wide medical research charity dedicated to helping babies and children. We know that medical research can save and change children’s lives. For nearly 60 years we have been instrumental in significant medical breakthroughs, including the development of the UK polio vaccine and ultrasound scanning in pregnancy.
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. 
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