Developing materials which integrate well into the patient’s pelvic floor for stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse

Prof Sheila MacNeil, Prof Christopher Chapple, University of Sheffield

Stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse are two related conditions that occur due to weakening of the pelvic floor. These conditions have a serious impact on the quality of life and often implantation of a mesh support is the only treatment. It is now clear that mesh supports are linked with severe complications including erosion of the pelvic floor, pain, urinary and sexual dysfunction. The aim of Professor Sheila MacNeil’s team is to develop new biological scaffolds for the pelvic floor. In this PhD project, they will evaluate two new approaches to the production of biomaterials that have the potential to stimulate new blood vessel growth; a key feature in the long term success of implants is ensuring a rapid blood supply. This will extend the work of a previous study supported by Rosetrees and Stoneygate, which tested the best materials for pelvic mesh implants.




The debilitating condition of urinary urgency: steps towards improved understanding and treatment

Dr John Young, University of Portsmouth

Bladder dysfunction can be a severely debilitating condition, having a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.  One symptom of bladder dysfunction is urinary urgency – the ‘sudden and compelling desire to pass urine, which is difficult to defer’, and is reported in a number of conditions including overactive bladder syndrome, type 2 diabetes and interstitial cystitis, effectively impacting nearly 1/3 of adults.  Previous studies have provided little insight in to the causes of urinary urgency, with current treatments often ineffective due to poorly tolerated side effects. The aim of this research is to understand the processes underlying how we perceive bladder fullness, with the hope that this could provide a basis for new, more effective treatments.




Genetic Investigation of Kidney Disease – study the effect of the mutations on kidney cells

Dr Danny Gale, University College London

Kidney failure frequently runs in families, but the gene responsible is often unknown. The aim of this project by Dr Gale at UCL is to use cutting-edge genetic technology called ‘exome sequencing’ to find the gene causing unexplained kidney failure in families.


Urinary biomarker profiling for optimal ErbB inhibitor therapy of ADPKD

Professor Pat Wilson, University College London

This is a continuation of the project studying polycystic kidney disease ADPKD, which is an inherited chronic condition causing loss of renal function and ultimately complete kidney function. Professor Wilson’s team have identified 3 drugs which inhibit proteins which promote growth of the cysts on the kidney and shown that they are tolerated in mice. They will next analyse urine from human patients with ADKPD and examine protein expression to see if there is a correlation between disease severity and the particular proteins expressed. This would then form the basis of a simpler non-invasive test to determine which drug would have maximum benefit.

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