The most recent Medical Innovations Summit was held on Saturday 5th April 2014 at The Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE. The event was hosted by Prof Robin Williamson, former President of the RSM and Mr Ian Balmer, RSM CEO.
Our medical innovations programme offers a range of extraordinary presentations with speakers from the UK and overseas. It is a real meeting of minds and provides a platform for entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers to showcase their work.
Young people, with no medical qualifications, are increasingly having an extraordinary impact in the medical and healthcare sector. Brittany Wenger, a first year student in the USA, taught her computer how to diagnose leukaemia by creating a diagnostic tool for doctors to use. She built a custom, cloud-based ‘artificial neural network’ to find patterns in genetic expression profiles to diagnose patients with an aggressive form of cancer called mixed-lineage leukaemia. Previously she used artificial-intelligence technology to diagnose breast cancer. With a non-invasive procedure, her technology was able to help determine whether a breast mass was malignant or benign. Her Cloud4Cancer service can be altered to improve diagnostics for multiple cancer classifications.
According to a survey by Help the Aged, more than 1 million people over the age of 65 reported feeling lonely often or always. Esther Rantzen has launched The Silver Line, a free 24/7 phone service which seeks to support older people, many of whom feel isolated, depressed, bereaved and are reluctant to seek help. The success of the pilot programme, funded by Comic Relief, helped The Silver Line secure a £5 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund. The Silver Line received over 8,000 calls in its first official week and received requests from over 1,500 people requesting regular contact.
Zoltan Takats is the inventor of the iKnife - an ‘intelligent’ knife that can sniff out tumours to improve cancer surgery. His team at Imperial College hope to overcome the dangerous and common problem of leaving bits of the tumour in a patient, which can then regrow. Early results, in the journal Science Translational Medicine, showed the iKnife could accurately identify cancerous tissue on the spot. It is now being tested in clinical trials at three hospitals in London to see if it saves lives.
As a scientist and video game enthusiast, Pam Omidyar wondered if giving young cancer patients a chance to blast their cancer in a video game might actually improve their health. In 2001, Pam founded HopeLab to develop and test this concept, which led to their first product, Re-Mission which demonstrated that specially designed technology can be both fun and effective in driving positive health behaviour. Zamzee, another product deepened HopeLab’s understanding of how to motivate and sustain healthy behaviour change. Pat Christen, HopeLab’s President & CEO will explain how their focus on the research and development of new social technologies promote human resilience and improve both psychological and biological health and well-being.
Tal Golesworthy is an engineer who fixed his own heart. When he discovered he had Marfan syndrome he was aware that there was a danger his aorta might stretch and burst. Rather than have pre-emptive surgery and experience the possible side-effects, he decided to use his knowledge and experience as an engineer and designed a ‘personalised sleeve’. Working with RSM Fellows Professor Tom Treasure and Professor John Pepper, Personalised External Aortic Root Support (PEARS) has now been successfully used by over 40 patients in London, Oxford and Belgium. Professor Pepper will speak about the clinical application of the PEARS.
Saudia Arabia is to sequence the genomes of 100,000 citizens, in one of the most ambitious attempts to drive forward personalised medicine. Over the next five years, scientists plan to produce one of the world’s largest and best-integrated DNA databases, enabling them to tailor treatment specifically to each patient. Dr Sultan al-Sedairy and Shazia Subhani of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre will be speaking about this exciting and significant initiative.
Sarah Bateup and Barnaby Perks will be speaking about the growing success of their start-up Psychology Online, which offers a secure messaging service for patients to undertake cognitive behavioural therapy with a therapist. The therapy can be conducted from the patient’s home and at a time convenient to them. The results show the new system has higher recovery rates, requires fewer sessions and has now been commissioned by five NHS clinical commissioning groups.
A potential cure for HIV will be tested on British patients this year in a ground-breaking trial of a treatment that aims to put sufferers into cancer-style remission. The virus will be ‘woken up’ from its hiding place within cells so that it can be targeted by a combination of drugs. Dr Sarah Fidler of Imperial College and Dr John Frater of Oxford University will be speaking about the trial which will be closely watched by over 100,000 people in Britain who have HIV.
Big White Wall is a leader in digital integrated healthcare, delivering personalised mental health. In partnership with The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, Big White Wall (BWW) offers ‘wellbeing pathways’ through a range of safe therapeutic services. Award-winner, social entrepreneur and founder of BWW, Jen Hyatt will speak about the impact of this vital mental health service and the success being achieved.
Potentially saving huge amounts of time and money, Manchester-based PharmaKure are focussed on discovering new uses for known compounds or drugs through their phenotypic screening methods. Their focus at the moment is Alzheimer's Disease where PharmaKure hopes to offer new therapeutic options to Alzheimer's patients. The company already owns intellectual property on one drug discovered by their screening approach. Hear more about the company's novel approach and progress to date from Dr. Farid Khan, Chief Executive Officer.
In January, a skilled surgical team at Barts and The London NHS Trust successfully implanted a revolutionary pacemaker. Ross Hunter along with Dr Mark Carlson, Chief Medical Officer at St Jude Medical, will be speaking at the medical innovations summit about how the Nanostim requires no leads and no chest incision, and as a result there is no scar and no permanent lump under the skin. The Nanostim may prove to be the new 'go to' device for surgeons who oversee over 40,000 procedures for patients requiring pacemakers every year within the NHS.
Professor June Andrews is the Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling. The centre is an international centre of knowledge and expertise dedicated to improving the lives of people with dementia. Professor Andrews was recognised in 2013 as one of the Top 100 most influential clinicians in the UK and also one of the 50 most inspirational women in the NHS. She will be speaking about the work of the centre, specifically about the 'Ideas Lab' and 'Innovation Wall'.
In February 2014, molecular virologist Dr Ian Hampson and viral oncology lecturer Dr Lynne Hampson announced that they may have found a revolutionary therapy for women who have a high risk of cervical cancer. Based at St Mays Hospital, Manchester, they have discovered that the drug lopinavir (used for HIV treatment) attacks the strain of HPV that causes virtually all cases of cervical cancer. Their results are not yet published or peer-reviewed, however given Lord Saatchi’s Bill on medical innovation and the idea of a ‘window trial’, now is a great time to learn more about their success and its implications.