August 18th, 2014

Children’s cancer expert backs Saatchi Innovation Bill

Professor David Walker, a children’s cancer expert at Nottingham, is supporting Lord Maurice Saatchi’s campaign to give doctors more freedom to try new ways to treat rare and terminal cancers.

If made law, Lord Saatchis Medical Innovation Bill would allow oncologists to explore innovative therapies, while building evidence for clinical trials.

The Bill is proceeding to a second reading in the House of Lords.

Professor Walker, who co-founded the UK’s leading Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, said: “When cancer patients have ‘nowhere else to go’ and if there is no trial for which they are eligible, they need to be able to try treatments that might work, based upon the best judgment of their medical advisors.

“We need to allow them to try such new drugs that may be applicable and collect that experience to inform the next generation of trials. The Saatchi Bill would do this, by protecting individual doctors who try new, licensed but untrialled treatments, on patients who have consented to such treatment outside of a formal trial.

Lord Saatchi, who was prompted by the death of his wife Josephine Hart from ovarian cancer to introduce the Bill, said:  “Professor Walker is pre-eminent in his field and his recognition of the importance of this Bill for patients is an immeasurable boost to the campaign.”

Centre of excellence to raise understanding of dementia

A new centre of excellence at the Institute of Mental Health in Nottingham will seek to transform our understanding of dementia.

The Centre for Dementia is focusing on dementia as a pathway or a journey, which typically lasts for several years from first onset to end-of-life.

The Institute is a partnership between Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and The University of Nottingham. It houses a number of centres of excellence covering areas such as health and criminal justice, ADHD, social futures, and education.

Professor Tom Dening, Director of the new centre, said: “Through high-quality, useful research we will seek to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers, looking at how people with dementia spend their time and what helps them to get quality from life.”

Academy honour for world leader in eczema research

Professor Hywel Williams, the Director of the Universitys Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, has been elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences for his contribution to the advancement of medical science in skin diseases.

Professor Williams was appointed Senior Lecturer in Dermatology at Nottingham in 1994 and became Foundation Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology in 1998. He founded the Centre of Evidence-Based Dermatology and became an NIHR senior investigator in 2008. In 2013, he was awarded a higher doctorate (DSc) for his international research into the causes and treatment of eczema.

Professor Williams said: “All my achievements rest on a team of wonderful colleagues at the Centre of Evidence-Based Dermatology and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. I feel excited about contributing to the agenda of the Academy given my background in clinical research and working with patients with skin disease.”

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