The IPEM Research and Innovation Awards provide funding for the purchase of equipment or services to facilitate short term research projects in the application of physical science and engineering in medicine and biology. Applications from members of the Institute are invited each year via an advertisement in the Newsletter.
2015 Funded Projects:
Anna Barnes, Institute of Nuclear Medicine, University College Hospital London Foundation Trust
Whole body apparent diffusion coefficient mapping consensus meeting
Conor McGarry, Radiotherapy Physics, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Feasibility of using individualised phantoms created using 3D printing for validation of IGRT Techniques
Rollo Moore, Medical Physics Department, Royal Marsden Hospital, London
Development of an Image-Guided radiotherapy (IGRT) quality control phantom based on an innovative configuration of a new commercial system (from Keysight) with novel simple add-on components
Stuart Marsden, Clinical Measurement, The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough
Improving chest physiotherapy in PICU: implementing real time hand positioning and force distribution feedback
Panagiotis Chatzistergos, Science Centre, Staffordshire University, Stoke on Trent
Development of a novel ultrasound based computational method for the in vivo assessment of tendon biomechanics
Jamie Harle, Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, University College, London
Building "e-parRTner": a UK-led, non-profit, collaborative online portal for radiotherapy physics training and education in the developing world
2014 Funded Projects:
Catherine Kendall, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Research to explore/advance the application of vibrational spectroscopy to the early diagnosis of gynaecological cancers over a period of two years.
Tom Lister, The Salisbury Laser Clinic
Explore the potential for the non-invasive diagnosis of skin cancer.
Lefteris Livieratos, Guy's Hospital, London
Radiation monitoring at home for personalised dosimetry of patients receiving molecular radiotherapy.
Kumar Ramnarine, Leicester Royal Infirmary
Creation of a phantom brain to explore feasibility of development of use of Brain Tissue velocimetry as a non-invasive emergency assessment tool for brain injury
Scott Inglis and Nick Weir, (Medical Physics, NHS Lothian)
The development of a prototype combined thermal and near infrared imaging system to monitor liver disease, working in collaboration with Professors Peter Hayes and John N. Plevris of the Centre for Liver and Digestive Disorders, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
Daniel Espino, University of Birmingham
New Imaging model to assess the effect of surface damage on flow through cardiovascular structures
Andrew Scott, The Royal Brompton Hospital, London
Research into the impact of strain on the heart and imaging/exploration of this organ
Robert Dickinson, Imperial College London and Stent Tek Ltd
New catheter design for percutaneous arteriovenous Fistula creation for Dialysis access.
Elizabeth Davies, Leicester Royal Infirmary
Development of a personal dosimeter badge wear monitor
Steve Pye, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Exploration into objective assessment of grey-scale ultrasound imaging/assessment of scanners used for intravascular ultrasound scanners.
Ihsan Al-Affan, College of Medicine, Swansea University
Research to explore the possibility of using lead to cover part of the maze walls in order to absorb low energy photons and reduce the total dose at the maze entrance of radiotherapy rooms.
William Thomson, City Hospital, Birmingham
Development of a new gamma camera collimator system
Alys Gilbert, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Proof of concept - determination of respiratory impedance via the Oscillatory Airflow Technique
2013 Funded Projects:
Megan Duffy, Non-Ionising Radiation Section, Medical Physics Department, St Thomas's Hospital, London
MarginMapper: a system to aid the delineation of pre-surgical skin cancer margins using optical coherence tomography.
Amir Awwad, Academic Radiology Department, Nottingham University Hospitals
Validation of Intravascular Pressure Gradients Derived from 4D MRA: In Vitro Intraluminal Catheter Comparison Using an Elastic Vascular Phantom
Jacinta Browne, School of Physics, Dublin Institute of Technology
Development of an optimized Doppler sensitivity testing protocol for assessing fit-for-purpose early pregnancy ultrasound systems
Marc Miquel, Vascular and Microvascular Unit, Clinical Physics, St Bartholomew Hospital, London
Faster Image Reconstruction for Real-time MRI of Speech
Tony Birch, Department of Medical Physics, Southampton General Hospital
A head-set design to hold a probe for measuring tiny pulsing changes of skull diameter
Prashant Verma, Department of Medical Physics, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield
Measurement of the frequency dependent attenuation of nano-bubbles for use in non-viral gene transfection.
Lawrence Kenney, Centre for Health Sciences Research, University of Salford
Towards a better understanding the impact of upper limb prosthesis design features on the user
Onuora Awunor, Radiotherapy Physics Department, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough
Assessing variations in ring applicators used for brachytherapy treatment of the cervix
Paul Harrington, Specialist Disability Service, Oxford Centre for Enablement, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
2012 Funded projects:
Better brain phantoms from a 3D printer.
Dr Robin Holmes, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
The range of possible applications for 3D printers is rapidly widening as the technology becomes faster, cheaper and more sophisticated. Robin Holmes was interested in their potential to produce anatomically correct brain phantoms for use with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanners and gamma cameras. Phantoms are test objects used for the quality assurance of medical imaging systems. Their use is vital to ensure that differences between scans are due to differences in the patients and not due to variations in scanner performance. With better phantoms, scan reporting for conditions such as neurodegeneration become more objective and accurate, reducing uncertainty and enabling earlier diagnoses. The Bristol team used IPEM funding to buy paper and 3D printing systems, which they have used to produce specialised brain phantoms for research projects on dementia detection and childhood epilepsy. “The technology is working well”, Robin says. “We’re now working with a local 3D printing company to develop bone-simulating plastics for use in our phantoms.”
Accurate detection of bone micro-fractures in young children.
Mr Stephen Rimmer, Leeds General Infirmary
The Leeds team wanted to improve the accurate X-ray detection of tiny fractures, called classic metaphyseal lesions, in the bones of children under two. This type of injury is associated with physical abuse, so their identification is important and a misdiagnosis could have serious consequences. An IPEM award, together with funding from other charities, purchased a new born phantom for measuring and verifying radiation doses. This enabled the group to develop evidence-based radiographic guidelines, which they plan to publish later this year. “These guidelines will help radiographic teams improve their accuracy and reduce the X-ray dose needed for vulnerable young patients”, explains Stephen Rimmer. They are now using the phantom for a second project on cardiac problems in young patients.
Ultrasound bladder scanning for radiotherapy planning.
Dr Gareth Webster, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust
Radiotherapy for prostate cancer can cause side-effects due to irradiation of the small bowel. Drinking protocols are often used to increase bladder volume and lift the bowel away from the high dose region. However, compliance can be poor, resulting in excess irradiation from rescans and daily delays to treatment. Using IPEM funding, Gareth Webster purchased an ultrasound probe that quickly measures bladder volume and tested its potential to identify problems prior to scanning or treatment. ‘We’ve found that the system is accurate enough to assess whether clinical drinking protocols have been followed adequately”, said Gareth. “Patients benefit from fewer delays and reduced imaging dose. Although it takes time to scan each patient, this is largely offset by the reduced CT rescan rate.” The results will be presented at the conference of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) in 2014 and a publication is in preparation.
Widening access to self-administered pain relief
Richard Axell, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge
For many health conditions, it is best to let the patient administer their own pain relief. Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) has been found to be more effective at relieving pain and has lower and less costly nursing requirements than pain relief controlled by nurses. However, an estimated 20% of patients who would benefit from PCA are physically unable to operate the handsets. Richard Axell successfully applied for IPEM funding to develop and assess three prototype PCA activation systems for disabled patients. Working in collaboration with a company that manufactures PCA pumps, the Cambridge team have looked into the use of push buttons, puff tubes and sphyg bulbs as possible activation mechanisms. They have produced the first prototype handsets and are now testing them with patients. “We believe that, with the right handsets, almost every patient should be able to access PCA” says Richard.
A solid target holder for producing the radioisotope Yttrium-86
Dr Christopher Marshall, Cardiff University
The radioactive drug Yttrium-90 (90Y) is widely used for treating cancers, such as neuro-endocrine tumours. Its distribution and behaviour in the body can be tracked and measured using the positron emitting radioisotope Yttrium-86 (86Y). Radiotherapists and researchers need 86Y to assess 90Y treatments and to develop new, targeted cancer treatments using radiolabelled monoclonal antibodies. IPEM funding paid for the design and production of a solid target holder used to make 86Y. With the help of this specially commissioned equipment, the Wales Research and Diagnostic PET Imaging Centre (PETIC) has succeeded in producing 86Y in the UK for the first time. “Producing this important radionuclide will improve this country’s PET research infrastructure”, says Chris. “Not only will we be able to make the 86Y we need for our own research in Cardiff, but we will be able to supply other UK PET centres.”
A non-invasive way to detect and characterise cardiac arrhythmia
Dr Fernando Schlindwein, University of Leicester
Irregular heart rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia) is a major cause of illness and death in the UK. Researchers are attempting to obtain information about the electrical function of the heart from measurements of electrical potential at the body surface: the inverse problem of cardiology. Such a non-invasive system would be invaluable to help clinical decision making and improve the cost effectiveness of heart catheterism. Fernando Schlindwein used funding from IPEM and other sources to buy a Body Surface Potential Mapping System (BSPMS) from the Netherlands. “With the new BSPM system we can attach up to 128 electrodes to the body surface” says Fernando. “This high spatial definition allows for a significantly improved analysis of atrial fibrillation.” In trials involving heart rhythm patients, the Leicester team are now using the new system, together with anatomical information obtained by magnetic resonance (MR) scanning, to try and solve the inverse problem of cardiology.
The IPEM Research and Innovation Awards provide funding for the purchase of equipment or services to facilitate short term research projects in the application of physical science and engineering in medicine and biology. Applications from members of the Institute are invited each year via an advertisement in the Newsletter. Further details and the application form for the 2014 awards can be found by following the links application form and guidance notes.
The following prizes are normally awarded each year but are not open to application or nomination:
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