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Latest Biomedical Sciences News

Developing molecular diagnostics for pneumonia in hospitals

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Clinicians and scientists from UCLH, UCL and the University of East Anglia (UEA) have been awarded a £2.5 million grant by the National Institute for Health Research to develop and evaluate new molecular diagnostic tests.

Professor John O’Keefe

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Professor John O’Keefe, inaugural Director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at UCL, having launched the centre, will be stepping down from the role in September 2016 so he can once again devote his full attention to a significant program of ongoing and new scientific research. We are extremely grateful to him for having taken on the demanding role of launching the Centre and are delighted that he will continue his research within it.

Vice Provost (Health) View November 2015

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Having been Vice-Provost (Health) for three months, I should like to start by thanking my predecessor Professor Sir John Tooke: health at UCL has gone from strength to strength over the past five and a half years.

‘Dickensian’ lung disease rates on the rise in UK pensioners

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The number of people diagnosed with bronchiectasis, a lung condition thought to be a ‘disease of the past’, has risen considerably in the past decade and now affects more than 1% of UK pensioners, finds a new study by UCL, University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The research was funded by the Medical Research Council and National Institute for Health Research.

PhotoSynthesis Competition results

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After months of waiting the results are finally in for our Photosynthesis competition 2015. The judging panel (consisting of senior academics, managers and communications staff from across the School) were extremely impressed by all the entries but the winners are:

Higher risk of death for patients admitted to NHS hospitals at the weekend

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Patients admitted to hospital at the weekend are more likely to be sicker and have a higher risk of death, compared with those admitted during the week, finds an analysis published in The BMJ this week.

Antipsychotics inappropriately prescribed to people with intellectual disabilities

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Antipsychotic medication

Large numbers of people with intellectual disabilities are being inappropriately prescribed antipsychotic drugs, finds a new UCL study.

Improving treatment for systemic amyloidosis

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Whole body anterior amyloid scans of a patient with systemic amyloidosis, showing abundant amyloid in the liver before treatment and the almost complete absence of amyloid after a single dose of the new anti-SAP antibody.

A potential new approach to treat systemic amyloidosis, invented at UCL and being developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), marks the start of a successful and innovative academic-industry collaboration.

UCL to coordinate £16m project to crack difficult disease areas

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Scientist examines samples under a microscope

UCL has successfully coordinated a £16 million bid to work with the Medical Research Council (MRC), GSK and four other universities to improve scientists’ understanding of inflammatory and fibrotic diseases that present a serious burden to patients.

Major new research study on the impact of system-wide reorganisation of cancer services

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A research team led by Professor Naomi Fulop (UCL Department of Applied Health Research) has been awarded £1.2 million over three and a half years by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme to study the centralisation of specialist cancer surgical services.

Climate change threatens to undermine the last half century of health gains

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Climate emergency

The threat to human health from climate change is so great that it could undermine the last fifty years of gains in development and global health, according to a major new UCL-led Commission, published in The Lancet.

Starting HIV treatment early improves patient outcomes

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Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell

A major international randomised clinical trial has found that HIV-infected individuals have a considerably lower risk of developing AIDS or other serious illnesses if they start taking antiretroviral drugs sooner, when their CD4+ T-cell count—a key measure of immune system health—is higher, instead of waiting until the CD4+ cell count drops to lower levels.

Chemo before surgery benefits patients with advanced ovarian cancer

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Chemotherapy machine

Women with advanced ovarian cancer have fewer side effects and tend to have a better quality of life if given chemotherapy before surgery, according to a Cancer Research UK funded study published in The Lancet.

Missing molecule prevents puberty

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Hormones that trigger puberty in the mouse brain

A molecule important in blood vessel formation and brain wiring is also essential for the onset of puberty, finds new research led by UCL and the University of Milan.

SLMS Education Domain announces the winners of the first SLMS Education Awards

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education awards

We are proud to announce the winners of the first SLMS Education Awards to reward those dedicated to improving the quality of education for SLMS students and to spotlight and support excellence and innovation in the delivery of education.

Smoking induces early signs of cancer in cheek swabs

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DNA damage caused by smoking can be detected in cheek swabs, finds research published today in JAMA Oncology. The study provides evidence that smoking induces a general cancer program that is also present in cancers which aren’t usually associated with it – including breast and gynaecological cancers.

Professor Mark Emberton appointed Dean of UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences

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Mark Emberton

UCL is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Mark Emberton to the position of Dean, UCL Faculty of UCL Medical Sciences, replacing Professor David Lomas from 1 August 2015.

New test could identify resistant tuberculosis faster in London

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) disease rates in some parts of London are as high as in Sub-Saharan Africa, and drug-resistant strains are becoming increasingly common. These require specific treatments, and if doctors know that a bug is resistant they can start therapy earlier, often leading to better outcomes.

Starved T cells allow hepatitis B to silently infect liver

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Magnified image of liver sample from Hepatitis B patient showing suppressor cells (brown) approaching T cells (red)

Hepatitis B stimulates processes that deprive the body’s immune cells of key nutrients that they need to function, finds new UCL-led research funded by the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust.

Academy of Medical Sciences Fellows 2015

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Academy of Medical Sciences

Five researchers from across UCL SLMS have been recognised for their contribution to the advancement of medical science by election to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Professors Peter Brocklehurst, Frances Brodsky, Diana Kuh, Catherine Law and Alan Thompson joined the existing Fellows of the Academy to bring the total membership to 1134.

New screening technique could pick up twice as many ovarian cancer cases

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Ovarian cancer under the microscope

A new screening method can detect twice as many women with ovarian cancer as conventional strategies, according to the latest results from the largest trial of its kind led by UCL.

Royal Society Fellows 2015

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Royal Society

Professor Annette Dolphin (Professor of Pharmacology, Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, Division of Biosciences) and Professor Michael Häusser (Professor of Neuroscience, Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research) have been elected to the Fellowship and Foreign Membership of the Royal Society.

Mummified bodies from 18th century Europe found to have multiple tuberculosis infections

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Bodies found in a 200 year-old Hungarian crypt have revealed the secrets of how tuberculosis (TB) took hold in 18th century Europe, according to a research team involving UCL scientists.

Human immune system can control re-awakened HIV, suggesting ‘kick and kill’ cure is possible

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Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell

The human immune system can handle large bursts of HIV activity and so it should be possible to cure HIV with a ‘kick and kill’ strategy, finds new research led by UCL, University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Oxford and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

HIV spreads like internet malware and should be treated earlier

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HIV-1 infected T cell (purple) interacting with an uninfected target T cell (brown) during cell-to-cell spread at the virological synapse

A new model for HIV progression finds that it spreads in a similar way to some computer worms and predicts that early treatment is key to staving off AIDS.

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