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

Top Manchester researchers awarded grants to help sick babies and children

13 January 2012

Two leading research teams in Manchester have been given almost £250,000 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 Manchester, totalling £246,497 for work on brittle cornea syndrome and Vitamin D deficiency in South Asian children in the UK. (For full grant details, see below).

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:

Vitamin D deficiency in South Asian children in the UK - £150,291 awarded over 18 months to researchers at the University of Manchester, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bone growth in adolescence and is produced when skin is exposed to sunlight, with small amounts also obtained from food. Low Vitamin D levels lead to weak bones and severe cases can lead to bone deformity. Almost 50 per cent of all UK South Asian adolescents have Vitamin D deficiency. The researchers are aiming to measure Vitamin D levels in school children of South Asian ethnicity and to measure their sunlight exposure. They hope the findings will lead to national recommendations on sun exposure for this specific group of the UK population who are at risk as sun protection campaigns currently tend to be geared towards white-skinned people.

Corneal fragility – brittle cornea syndrome - £96,206 awarded over two years to researchers at Genetic Medicine, St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester and Department of Medical Genetics, University of Manchester

Brittle cornea syndrome is a rare genetic disorder where affected children have very thin corneas – the clear window of tissue at the front of the eye. The fragile cornea is at risk of rupture leading to blindness. The condition can also cause deafness and loose joints. The scientists will be studying a recently discovered gene which is faulty in patients with this condition in the hope of better understanding what causes it, which could then improve diagnosis and lead to better treatments.

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

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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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