Government backs cutting edge medical technologies


Government backs cutting edge medical technologies

Revolutionary new cancer test could change the way cancer is diagnosed and treated

A new prototype cancer test that could help thousands of cancer patients is one of the five projects that has been awarded funding from our National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health announced today.

The test – a simple blood test – will allow doctors to see how a patient is responding to cancer treatment in real-time. It could mean shorter treatments and increased survival rates through better tailored treatments for patients, and better long term survival by early detection of recurring cancers.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has made clear that the Government is determined to make the UK a world leader in cutting edge medical technology and research and will back projects that help achieve that goal.

This new technology has just received funding from the Department of Health's NIHR i4i programme and will now undergo clinical trials before potentially being used in the NHS.

Other successful devices that have received funding include new computerised glasses which could help the 1.8 million people who have serious problems with their sight. The glasses contain tiny cameras that detect people and obstacles and relay this back to the person wearing the glasses by illuminating a set of small bright LED lights embedded into the lenses of the glasses.

Over £3 million of funding has been awarded to these five projects. The other successful projects were:

    A new smart phone to help widen access to HIV testing in GP surgeries, pharmacies, community settings, and developing countries.
    Improved imaging around joints such as cortical bone, tendons and ligaments to avoid unnecessary surgery on healthy tissue.
    Electrical and mechanical stimulation of major muscles in the legs to improve blood circulation and reduce risk of deep vein thrombosis in patients under critical care.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, said:

"The NHS needs inventive medical technologies to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease for its patients.

"I want to transform research in the NHS. The NIHR i4i programme provides a route for researchers to develop innovative ideas into a reality that could have a significant impact on patients.

"Today we are opening our next i4i funding competition, and are inviting researchers and academics to apply for a total of up to £6.25 million to develop more new devices and technologies for patients."

NIHR i4i funds projects through prototype and commercial development until a device or technology is ready for clinical testing. i4i projects have the potential to make significant improvements for patients. The projects involve academic or clinical researchers and technical experts from industry. The successful projects will now use the funding to test their innovations prior to potentially carrying out clinical trials with patients.

Since 2010 the NIHR i4i programme has funded 27 projects, providing over £16 million.


For media enquiries only, please contact the Department of Health press office on: 0207 210 5477.

Around 880 people are diagnosed with cancer every day.

About the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i)

i4i is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) programme that aims to support and advance the development of innovative medical technologies for the benefit of patients in the NHS in Englandand Wales. The programme funds projects lasting 1-3 years that aim to develop viable medical product prototypes. i4i supports collaborative research and development between at least two partners from industry, NHS organisations and universities or other Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). For a proposal to be eligible for an award, the project team must comprise researchers from at least two of these sectors.

About the NIHR

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government's strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website.

The five projects

    The first test to allow a doctor to see how a patient is responding to cancer treatment in real-time (Damian Bond, ProKyma Technologies Limited).