Stories about the people, science and research of the Medical Research Council.
8 Jun 2018
By backing the AllTrials campaign we commit to making all clinical research – both positive and negative – publicly available. We’ve taken the lead in the UK by helping our researchers achieve this goal. But there’s still more funders can do, as Síle Lane, Head of international campaigns and policy at Sense about Science, explains.
The MRC was one of the first organisations to sign up to the AllTrials campaign which is now supported by almost 800 organisations worldwide. AllTrials is the global campaign for all clinical trials to be registered and results reported.
With backing from organisations like the MRC we have been able to put clinical trial transparency on agendas at the highest levels including the World Health Organisation, the UN, national governments and the European Parliament. New laws mandating transparency have been written and serious discussions have started in research organisations and professional societies about new rules they should adopt to support more transparency. [...]
Continue reading: Going further to make all clinical trials public
30 Mar 2017
Damian Mole combines surgery with research. He has just been awarded a prestigious MRC Senior Clinical Fellowship to find out why people who’ve had acute pancreatitis have a shortened lifespan, even after they seem to have fully recovered. Here he tells us about the buzz of surgery, the importance of mentors and relaxing with his jazz band.
Career in brief:
- BMedSc in Cell and Molecular Pathology, University of Birmingham
- Medicine degree, University of Birmingham
- PhD on pancreatitis-associated organ failure, Queen’s University of Belfast
- Clinical Lecturer, Clinician Scientist Fellow, then Senior Lecturer and Consultant Surgeon, MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh
- MRC Senior Clinical Fellowship
Continue reading: Working life: Surgeon and researcher Damian Mole
8 Nov 2016
Professor of Obstetrics Andrew Shennan at King’s College London has developed a simple diagnostic device to measure blood pressure, pulse and detect shock in pregnant women. He’s now putting it to the test in a large trial across 10 centres in eight countries funded through the Joint Global Research Programme for Women’s and Children’s Health in collaboration with India’s Department of Biotechnology.
It’s taken 10 years but we finally have it. It’s cheap, it’s easy to use and it could save the lives of thousands of women every year. [...]
Continue reading: Simple diagnostic saves lives
27 Sep 2016
Dr Joanne Ng agreed to have a mock Clinical Research Training Fellowship interview filmed to give future applicants the chance to see exactly what it’s like to face the panel. The video below shows you the interview in full in the room where all MRC fellowship interviews take place. Beneath that you can see what the panel made of Joanne’s interview, and her reaction.
Continue reading: Interview day: what’s it like to face a fellowship panel?
27 Sep 2016
Chair of the MRC’s Clinical Training and Career Development Panel, Professor Moira Whyte, tells interview candidates what to expect from her panel. She explains that (although they can seem like an intimidating bunch on the day) they are actually very happy to meet you and hear about your project… so relax!
Continue reading: What the panel’s really thinking
14 Sep 2016
Just how useful is it to get access to a pharmaceutical company compound? Back in 2012 Dr Richard Mead of the University of Sheffield was one of 15 academic project leaders funded by the MRC to research an alternative use for a compound no longer being developed by AstraZeneca. As we launch the next round of the MRC-Industry Asset Sharing Initiative he tells us how the collaboration has brought together the best of both worlds.
Copyright: Richard Mead
I’m no stranger to the pharmaceutical industry. I spent three years in drug development at Celltech in the early 2000s. But even with my experience, it’s still amazing to be reminded of the resources that pharmaceutical companies have at their fingertips. It sounds obvious, but their access to unique compounds, and their ability to make them, is impressive. [...]
Continue reading: Why MRC-industry asset sharing is a win-win for me
8 Sep 2016
For this year’s organ donation week Pankaj Chandak, Research Fellow at the MRC Centre for Transplantation, King’s College London and The Royal College of Surgeons of England, tells us about his innovative, multidisciplinary work, including 3D printing to support organ transplantation which won him the Royal Society of Medicine Norman Tanner Medal and the Cutler’s Surgical Prize and Clarke Medal for Innovation 2016.
Pankaj shows the 3D-printed models of Lucy’s abdomen and her father’s kidney. Copyright: Pankaj Chandak.
Although rates of serious complications have fallen in the last few decades, organ transplants – like any other type of surgery – are not without risks. These risks are related to the procedure itself, the functioning of the transplanted organ and the use of medications that reduce the activity of the recipient’s immune system to stop it rejecting the donor organ.
But these risks are made more uncertain when there is a mismatch between the anatomy of the donor and the recipient – like in the case of a small child receiving an adult-sized organ. [...]
Continue reading: Transforming transplantation
24 Aug 2016
Jennifer Lawson is the Trials Manager for the recently launched Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study looking to do the most in-depth research ever conducted to find out how Alzheimer’s disease develops. She is part of Professor Simon Lovestone’s Translational Neuroscience and Dementia Research group at the University of Oxford.
Career in brief
- Psychology BSc
- Worked at the Oxford Mental Health Trust as a Research Coordinator
- Part time Cognitive Neuroscience MSc whilst working full time at the Trust
- Managed the feasibility study that has led to this Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study
My career path has been slightly unusual. Like many of my peers studying psychology, I planned to become a clinical psychologist. So I went to gain experience working in Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, assisting with clinical trials and other research studies. [...]
Continue reading: Working life: Trials Manager Jen Lawson
17 Aug 2016
Dr Bergljot Gjelsvik, Dr Laura Taylor and Daniel Brett, from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre at the University of Oxford, explain what we’ve learnt so far from research into mindfulness for recurrent depression and what we still need to find out.
Mindfulness practice is everywhere. Not only is it recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines as an intervention for people with recurrent depression, you may have kids who’ve done it at school, your workplace might be offering mindfulness sessions during your lunch break, or perhaps you have picked up one of the many books on the subject promising to teach you the skills. However, despite the buzz, there’s a lot more we need to find out. To do that, we need thorough scientific research. [...]
Continue reading: Mindfulness for recurrent depression: its positive potential and the vast unknown
8 Jun 2016
Professors Irv Weissman and Ravi Majeti at Stanford University and Professor Paresh Vyas at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit in Oxford, are working on an antibody from the Stanford investigators that enables the immune system to detect and kill cancer cells. They are now testing whether it’s safe and effective for use in people with blood cancer. In this week’s blog they tell us how they collaborated across the Atlantic to get public funding for a project that has led to a spin out with multiple backers and a promising clinical trial.
What if we could make our immune system fight cancer like it fights infection?
These aren’t the only teams in the world grappling with that question but for Professor Irv Weissman and Professor Paresh Vyas, the solution feels tantalisingly close for patients with blood cancer. [...]
Continue reading: Fighting cancer like an infection