Leeds to be leading centre for precision medicine

The Leeds Academic Health Partnership (LAHP) has been involved in an initiative to bring a centre of excellence in precision medicine to the city, the government has announced. Precision medicine uses diagnostic tests and data-based insights to understand a patient's disease more precisely and so select treatments with more predictable, safer, cost-effective outcomes. The UK’s research and clinical expertise, combined with government’s major investment in relevant research infrastructure, has placed it in a leading position in this area. The Leeds centre, which will run alongside other similar centres in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester and Oxford, was compiled by the LAHP, a consortium that brings together ten statutory organisations in Leeds -- the city’s six NHS organisations, its three universities and Leeds City Council – into a formal partnership.

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Inaugural Web Observatories Workshop Takes Place in Southampton

Much like the printing press, the invention of the world wide web has afforded us unprecedented opportunities for spreading information. Not only do we now have the capacity to share rich data sets online, we also have vast amounts of data about our online activity. However, without a proper framework in place, it is difficult to take full advantage of this rich information resource. There are currently multiple barriers to using this resource effectively, including accessibility of datasets, lack of comprehensive and shareable metadata, dataset identification and searching, access control and privileges, and analytics.

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Many colorectal cancer survivors struggle to cope with daily life

Around 7,000 colorectal cancer survivors in the UK struggle to cope with daily life years after their diagnosis, according to new analysis led by University of Leeds researchers. The study, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and partly funded by Macmillan Cancer Support, shows that just under 1 in 6 (15%) people who survive a year to three years after a colorectal cancer diagnosis in England experience ‘social distress’, perceiving their daily social interactions to be severely negative or distressing.

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A fighting chance of survival: life-saving stents for heart attacks

A study of 300,000 heart attack patients, led by the University of Leeds, has found rapid rates in the uptake of a treatment which improves a patient's chances of survival after a major heart attack. The research, part-funded by the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute of Health Research, showed the uptake of heart attack treatment gives nine in ten patients fighting chance of survival. The use of emergency stenting treatment (PPCI) increased from 0.1% in 2003 to 86% in 2013 for patients with STEMI - a heart attack caused by a complete blockage of a coronary artery which accounts for 25-40% of all heart attack cases in Europe.

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Breast cancer survivors could be vulnerable to common illnesses

Breast cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy could be vulnerable to common illnesses because of the long-term impact on the body’s immune response, according to new research findings. Chemotherapy is used to treat 30% of breast cancer patients and whilst previous studies have investigated its effects on immune systems during the therapy itself - and up to a short period after the last treatment - little is known about the long-term impact on immunity. Researchers from University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust measured the levels of lymphocytes, a group of white blood cells involved in the body’s immune response, together with antibodies. They found that chemotherapy reduced levels of some immune system components for at least nine months after treatment.

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Digital design to boost pharmaceutical industry

University of Leeds researchers are part of a project to transform the UK’s pharmaceutical industry by introducing new digital design processes. The £20.4 million ADDoPT (Advanced Digital Design of Pharmaceutical Therapeutics) project is a major four-year collaboration between the Government, industry and universities. It is expected to reduce the development time and cost of innovative medicines and improve the competitiveness of the UK’s pharmaceuticals sector.

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Researchers to use supercomputer to 'hack' Ebola

Scientists at the University of Leeds will run the equivalent of password cracking software to find the chemical keys to defeating the Ebola virus. A team from the University’s schools of Chemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology have secured a £200,000 grant from the Wellcome Trust to find drugs to cure the disease. Although several Ebola vaccines are being developed, there are currently no effective anti-viral drugs to treat people once they get infected. This is a particularly serious issues because of barriers to implementing vaccine programmes in the most at-risk communities and the difficulty of predicting where the disease will strike next. The University of Leeds researchers will focus on finding anti-viral drugs. 

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