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Scientists gather to celebrate leading bladder research


6 November, 2014  

More than thirty leading consultant urologists, professors and their students from across the world are to gather in Sheffield next week (Monday 10-Wednesday 13 November) to celebrate a multi-million pound project which has been training the next generation of urology scientists over the past four years.

The €3.2 million Training Urology Scientists to Develop Treatments (TRUST) project, which was funded by the European Union and led by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, could potentially lead to the development of new treatments for overactive bladder symptoms.

This includes a new electrical device, similar to a TENS machine, which helps controls symptoms and avoids the need for patients to frequently visit hospital for regular injections.

Studies have shown that one in six adults have reported having overactive bladder symptoms at any one point, which can interfere with daily activities and disrupt sleep.

During the event, which takes place at the Holiday Inn Royal Victoria Sheffield, over 30 clinicians and researchers, representing seven different European universities, two NHS Trusts and one major pharmaceutical company, will outline key pieces of work. This includes how to diagnose bladder activity disorders, the challenge of developing better surgical materials for women with weakened pelvic floor muscles, new approaches to developing pharmaceutical treatments for elderly patients with bladder problems and future collaborations.   

Professor Chris Chapple, a consultant urological surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and honorary professor at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, said: “This event is a great opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the project so far. This has been based on excellent and close collaboration in research across Europe and it has been a pleasure to see the next generation of young researchers being trained to such a high standard with the skills and knowledge to make a significant contribution to innovation and improved treatments for patients in the future.

Sir Andrew Cash, chief executive for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:  “As the lead organisation for the project, I am delighted that Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has played such an important role in spearheading the development of this multi-million pound EU-initiative which is already showing promising results that could potentially lead to the development of new treatments.”

Key successes of the project include:

  • Training 11 young researchers, all of whom have now gained PhDs and two of whom have decided to remain in Sheffield to pursue their post-doctorate careers
  • Published over 40 publications in high impact scientific journals
  • Gained a much better understanding about how the bladder works and how new techniques such as in silico medicine and modelling diseases through powerful computers can make a difference to patient care
  • Researched new drugs in conjunction with a leading name in the pharmaceutical industry,  Astellas Pharma
  • Demonstrated strong partnerships with European partners which has led to the submission of more European proposals to the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
  • Expanded our partnership working with Lori Birder PhD, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine with another joint research proposal submitted to the National Institute for Health in the US.