Top London researchers awarded grants to help sick babies and children | Action Medical Research

Top London researchers awarded grants to help sick babies and children

3 October 2012

Leading researchers in London have been awarded more than £400,000 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 is celebrating its anniversary in 2012 by marking 60 years of funding which has led to some key scientific breakthroughs. In total the new grants have been awarded to research institutes at universities and hospitals across the country, with more than £1.2 million investment across nine different projects.

London based researchers, in conjunction with others in Southampton, Sheffield and Cambridge, have been awarded £426,735 for work on Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease.

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 Caroline Johnston, Research Evaluation Manager, said: “We know that medical research can save and change children’s lives. 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:

Down syndrome and obstructive sleep apnoea: better screening might stop unnecessary suffering, two years, £199,752 granted to researchers at University Hospital Southampton, Evelina Children’s Hospital, London and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Each year in the UK around 750 babies are born with Down syndrome and about half will develop obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). In OSA, the muscles and soft tissues in the throat collapse, obstructing breathing. Several times a night the child will wake briefly, due to falling blood oxygen levels, then start breathing again.

OSA can result in lack of concentration during the day and added problems with behaviour and learning for children with Down syndrome. It can also cause dangerous, high blood pressure in the lungs, of particular concern in these children who are often born with heart defects.

Reassessing lung function of pre-school children with cystic fibrosis, £135,693 awarded over two years to researchers at the Institute of Child Health, University College London and Royal Brompton Hospital, London.

The study aims to identify those children with cystic fibrosis (CF) who are likely to develop severe lung disease in the future, those who will benefit from more intense therapy now and those who will benefit from being entered into research studies for new treatments in the future. CF is the UK's commonest life-threatening inherited disease. Mainly affecting the lungs and digestive system, which become clogged with thick sticky mucus, symptoms include persistent cough, recurrent chest infections and poor weight gain. Many people with CF die earlier than people in good health.

Management of kidney complications in children with sickle cell disease, two years, £91,290 awarded to researchers at the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford and King’s College Hospital, London.

Around one baby born in every 1,900 in the UK has a sickle cell disease (SCD). People with SCD have an abnormal form of haemoglobin in their red blood cells, causing these cells to become crescent or sickle-shaped and making them prone to get stuck in small blood vessels. Kidney disease occurs in about a third of children with SCD and significant numbers develop kidney (renal) failure, needing dialysis or transplantation. Currently, it is not possible to identify those children who will develop kidney disease.

- ENDS -


For further information please contact:
Toni Slater, Interim Communications Manager
T: 01403 327478

Follow us on Twitter at @actionmedres

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.

Help us spread the word