Engineering the future of healthcare - from brain mapping to smarter limb prostheses

Published on Thursday, 07 March 2013 13:29
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

A £12.2 million investment in 15 creative engineering research projects, that can deliver major advances in healthcare, is announced today by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Professor David Delpy, CEO of EPSRC said: "The research we are funding is aimed at developing a range of innovative technologies which can, improve the diagnosis and treatment of serious illnesses including Alzheimer's and cancer, improve patient outcomes, and help severely disabled people. EPSRC funds projects which are both world leading research, and can make a real difference to people's lives."

Richard Prager, from the University of Cambridge, who chaired the panel assessing the research proposals, said:  "Technology for rehabilitation, acute care and imaging has huge potential to transform lives and improve medicine.  It is great that such an exciting set of ambitious projects has been funded.

"The referees and review panel were greatly impressed by the large number and outstanding quality of proposals received."

Three health areas needing investment were identified by the EPSRC:

Medical Imaging with particular focus on neuroimaging £5.8 million for projects developing technologies and techniques which could:

  • lead to better diagnosis and treatment for epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, depression, dementia as well as breast cancers and osteoporosis
  • reduce risks during brain surgery by creating ultrasound devices in needles
  • improve therapies for brain injured patients and help severely disabled people interact with the world around them

Acute Treatment Technology £3.5 million awarded for projects to develop technology to improve patient outcomes such as:

a multiphoton scanner and a multiphoton endoscope to collect images of tissue at depth and sub-cellular level, allowing immediate diagnosis during surgeryultrasonic bone-penetrating needles to deliver drugs and obtain biopsies in bonelaser spectroscopy to quickly analyse tissue in cancer patients a pulsed laser system to restore tooth enamel

Assistive Technology and Rehabilitation £2.9 million awarded for technologies to improve patients' quality of life.  The projects funded aim to improve prosthetics, hearing aids, and develop a wearable material to support healing muscles or create an exoskeleton.

Source: EPSRC

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