Dr. Catherine Cross: A feasibility study of a guided self help group intervention to improve the well being of older adults

Dr. Catherine Cross: A feasibility study of a guided self help group intervention to improve the well being of older adults

Dr. Catherine Cross and Ms. Alison Marriott (Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust) worked with the Manchester City Council and Age Concern Manchester to develop a proposal for the RfPB. NIHR RfPB funding was successfully obtained for their study entitled ‘A feasibility study of a guided self help group intervention to improve the well being of older adults’. The study aims to assess whether it is feasible for non-mental health professionals to be trained to effectively deliver a 6 week self help course. The course is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and aims to improve wellbeing and life satisfaction for older adults not currently in contact with mental health services. Older adults generally under utilise mental health services. The project aims to increase accessibility to psychological interventions by embedding the ‘Be Well, Age Well’ course in existing day services.

This focus on wellbeing is in line with recent government guidance which encourages taking a more “positive” approach to mental health. The study will inform future decisions to conduct a large scale project evaluating the efficacy of the ‘Be Well, Age Well’ course. Dr Catherine Cross received advice from the NIHR Research Design Service for the North West on developing the proposal.

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Funding programme:
Research for Patient Benefit
Dr Jenny Myers: Prediction and prevention of adverse pregnancy outcomes in woman with chronic vascular disease

Dr Jenny Myers: Prediction and prevention of adverse pregnancy outcomes in woman with chronic vascular disease

In 2012 clinicians from The Manchester Antenatal Vascular Service (MAViS) based at St Mary’s Hospital Manchester, were successfully awarded an NIHR Clinician Scientist Award. The grant totalling £915,000 was achieved with the support of the RDS NW following an advice request from the Chief Investigator, Dr Jenny Myers.  The RDS offers free specialist advice on all aspects of an application and in this case were able to assist with the design of the prospective study which sought to investigate the clinical utility of measuring blood vessel relaxation using a highly sensitive blood pressure machine.

This pilot trial will assess the efficacy, safety and acceptability of targeted therapy. The clinic with its unique specialist research capability already had the necessary personnel, equipment and facilities to conduct this study.

Background to this study showed that chronic hypertension complicates two percent of pregnancies in the UK and is therefore associated with increased maternal and perinatal morbidity. In addition recent National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines have highlighted the need to investigate the safety and efficacy of antihypertensive treatment in pregnancy. In women with a history of hypertension, blood vessel function is altered and in contrast to healthy pregnancies, the blood vessels

do not relax during pregnancy. This abnormal adaptation is associated with an increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia and/or fetal growth restriction; both of which often necessitate a premature delivery. Therefore this prospective study based on trial design advice provided by the RDS NW will investigate the clinical utility of measuring blood vessel relaxation using a highly sensitive blood pressure machine. The accuracy of blood vessel relaxation in the prediction of preterm pregnancy complications will be assessed and used to recruit women to a pilot randomised controlled trial. The trial will involve the prescription of a commonly used blood pressure tablet (nifedipine) to normalise blood vessel relaxation in women with chronic hypertension.

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Funding programme:
NIHR Clinician Scientist Award
Miss Cliona Kirwan: The Thrombin Pathway in Breast Cancer Dis- semination: a potential biomarker and novel  therapeutic target

Miss Cliona Kirwan: The Thrombin Pathway in Breast Cancer Dis- semination: a potential biomarker and novel therapeutic target

In 2012, Miss Cliona Kirwan, a consultant in Oncoplastic Breast Surgery, was awarded an NIHR Clinician Scientist Award to investigate the relationship between cancer and the clotting system.

It is well recognised that cancer increases the risk of patients developing clots in the leg (deep vein thrombosis) and clots in the lung (pulmonary embolism). Increasingly it is being recognised that the relationship between cancer and clotting works two ways. It appears that the clotting system may help cancers grow and spread. Miss Kirwan has been awarded £1.3 million to perform a programme of work that will investigate this relationship between cancer and clotting.

She aims to develop methods of targeting the clotting system to help reduce growth and spread of breast cancer.

Clinician Scientists Awards are post-doctoral training fellowships, awarded to clinicians, from any discipline, with a strong background in clinical research. This NIHR personal award funds a five year programme of work with the aim of benefitting patients and also developing future research leaders.

The RDS NW was able to help Miss Kirwan develop and review her application. She is now over a year into her award and has a team of researchers assisting her in both clinical and laboratory studies, with some exciting results already being found.

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Funding programme:
NIHR Clinician Scientist Award