Recently we were the recipients of the “Ernest and Hilda Gallimore Award” from the North Staffordshire Medical Institute. This grant (£62,000) was designed to introduce and apply what was then seen as a new technology to our research repertoire.
Importantly and implicit in the award was the understanding that the findings would be made available to other researchers who had, as their focus, a Bench-to-Bedside approach to research and its application. The funding, over three years, allowed us to support a PhD studentship to develop a technique for silencing of specific gene implicated in particular diseases, and in particular cancer.
We feel that this award was instrumental in our use of the technique, termed RNAi. This technique and technology allows us to “turn genes off” in cells. The follow on from these studies is that many research groups, within the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and Keele University, now use these methodologies in their research. Indeed, from my own group more than 40 research papers have now been published that have relied on this technology.
— Professor William E. Farrell
Identification of gene-environment interactions in prostate cancer
Funding from North Staffordshire Medical Institute £9394.00
Professor Strange and Urology Research Registrar Mr. C. Luscombe (now Consultant Urologist, University Hospital of North Staffordshire) published a paper in the Lancet describing an unexpectedly significant association between exposure to sunlight and risk of prostate cancer. This study completed the first part of what became a longer term project to test the hypothesis that susceptibility to prostate (and possibly other) cancers was in part, determined by individual vitamin D status. However, while our data were supportive, much further work was needed to make the hypothesis widely believable and understand its mechanistic basis. To kick start further studies we successfully applied to the North Staffordshire Medical Institute for funding.
This funding allowed our group to undertake laboratory and clinically-based experiments to investigate the relationship between chronic exposure to sunlight and genetic factors determining the control of Vitamin D synthesis in skin. The pivotal role of genes associated with the synthesis of melanin in skin was established in our laboratory and subsequently independently confirmed by other researchers. These studies provided important support for the hypothesis that chronically low levels of Vitamin D increased risk of prostate and other cancers. Collectively, these studies have led to increased public health awareness of this important area. Indeed, recent publicity in the popular press has emphasised the need to educate the general public about the need to ensure adequate intake of this important vitamin.
Higher degrees gained by research registrars from this work:
MD Christopher Luscombe
MD Dhaval Bodiwalla
PhD Nicholas Rukin
— Professor Richard Strange and Mr Christopher Luscombe
I’d like to thank the North Staffs Medical Institute for all their support during my time as a student and whilst working with the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, particularly for their recent funding which has been instrumental in progressing orthopaedic research within the hospital.
— Dr. Sarah Griffiths
Orthopaedic Research Manager
University Hospital of North Staffordshire
Dr Sue Sherman, School of Psychology (together with Mr Charles Redman, UHNS, Prof Michael Murray, School of Psychology, Ms Philippa Pearmain, NHS, and Mrs Paula Hadden, UHNS) has been awarded £9,703 by the North Staffordshire Medical Institute to pilot a project entitled ‘Identifying and promoting best practice in communicating to patients the results of cervical screening history reviews following diagnosis of cervical cancer’.