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NPL and UKRI investment for innovation in time resilience, dissemination and application.
Funding of up to £4.7 million available through joint initiative, call for applications now open.

Leaders and aspiring leaders in healthcare science

The Chief Scientific Officer's Knowledge Transfer Partnership Programme for leaders and aspiring leaders in Healthcare Science

The Chief Scientific Officer's Knowledge Transfer Partnership Programme

The CSO's Knowledge Transfer Partnership Programme offers a unique opportunity for clinical leaders and aspiring leaders in their field to build long-term partnerships between clinical, research and industry teams through collaboration at a senior level with partner organisations across the UK's National Measurement System (NMS) and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

Through facilitating early interaction and knowledge exchange, the programme aims to speed up the identification and dissemination of high value new approaches to improving patient outcomes and increasing efficiency, whilst promoting economic growth and inward investment in the life sciences.

The eighteen month programme is designed to enable healthcare science staff to remain in clinical service whilst exchanging skills and expertise with NMS experts to create, expand, test or implement innovative ideas to improve the quality of patient care (as set out in NHS England's Long Term Plan).

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Programme themes

  • Novel diagnostics including point of care testing, biosensors, nanotechnology, diagnostic imaging and genomics
  • Advanced therapeutics including pharmacogenomics, ATMPs, synthetic biology, regenerative medicine and therapeutic imaging
  • Medical devices and digital health including assistive technologies, rehabilitation robotics, clinical decision support, informatics, digitisation and artificial intelligence
  • Measurements and Standards - including standardisation, accuracy, reproducibility and reducing uncertainty

healthcare scientists

What does the programme offer to healthcare science staff?

The programme offers the opportunity to:

  • Collaborate at a senior level with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and partner organisations that collectively deliver the UK's National Measurement System (NMS); The National Measurement Laboratory (NML) hosted at LGC; The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC).
  • Build long term scientific collaborations between clinical, research and industry teams to successfully address health challenges and speed up the identification and dissemination of healthcare innovations.
  • Advise at a national level through membership of the NHS England CSO Programme board or other national governance arrangements.
  • Professional speaking and ambassadorial opportunities and attendance at future national conferences and events.
  • Input into the UK's NMS research programmes to help ensure they provide benefit to the NHS and address key clinical challenges.

Current projects

David Hall

David Hall
Consultant Nuclear Medicine Physicist, Head of Nuclear Medicine Physics Group

Project: Quantitative SPECT/CT for dosimetry and diagnosis

Molecular radiotherapy (MRT) is a form of radiotherapy that utilises a radioactive medicine to deliver radiation to tissues to provide information about and to treat specific diseases. For other forms of radiotherapy, the dosage is prescribed accurately for the individual patient, whereas the dosage for MRT is generally the same for each patient. It is now a legal requirement in the UK that MRT should be individually planned, with the amount of radioactivity tailored to the patient and adjusted based on ongoing monitoring.

The partnership between David Hall, NPL and UKAS will initially focus on using MRT for cancer treatment with the aim of developing the diagnostic service so that treatment is tailored to the patient to improve patient outcomes.

The project will also help develop research which will have national and international impact, whilst exploring how this can be done with as little impact on patients as possible, for example by using home monitoring, or scanning closer to home.

 


Ian ButlerIan Butler
Clinical Scientist, Bart’s NHS Trust - The Royal London Hospital

Project: Standardisation of 16S and 18S rRNA gene sequencing by Oxford Nanopore Technology

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and sequencing of 16S and 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene targets is currently used to diagnose culture negative bacterial and fungal infections from samples from sterile sites such as cerebrospinal fluid, joint fluids and tissue biopsies in a number of laboratories in the UK. This type of assay is performed using a variety of different protocols, which leads to inter-laboratory variations in the sensitivity and specificity of this assay.

Newer third generation sequencing methods, such as Oxford Nanopore technology (ONP), offer an improvement in speed and reliability of this diagnostic assay and give the opportunity to detect mixed communities of bacteria and/or fungi by enabling metagenomic sequencing to be carried out in a routine diagnostic microbiology laboratory. Metagenomic sequencing by ONP technology can also be used for microbial profiling in non-sterile sites, such as the gut and its microbiome, to better understand the contribution of these microbial communities to chronic inflammatory and auto-immune diseases such a systemic lupus erythematous, inflammatory bowel disease and Parkinson’s disease.

The NML, NIBSC and UKAS are partnering with Ian Butler to design and develop an end-to-end quality assurance and sample testing framework for the validation and implementation of 16S and 18S rRNA gene sequencing by ONP. Standardisation of 16S and 18S rRNA gene sequencing will improve patient care and management by ensuring that inter-laboratory variation in methodology and quality assurance is significantly reduced. It also allows for significantly reduced morbidity and mortality in patients by proper identification of the causative agent of an infection and initiation of targeted therapy sooner.

 


Mary Alikian

Mary Alikian
Principal Clincial Scientist, Birmingham Children’s and Women’s NHS Trust

Project: Bridging the Gap between Technological Advances and Standardised Clinical Implementation

Molecular radiotherapy (MRT) is a form of radiotherapy that utilises a radioactive medicine to deliver radiation to tissues to provide information about and to treat specific diseases. For other forms of radiotherapy, the dosage is prescribed accurately for the individual patient, whereas the dosage for MRT is generally the same for each

Advances in new technologies in addition to large scale projects such as the 100K Genome Project (100KGP) have paved the way for the accelerated implementation of translational technologies into routine clinical service, breaking the conventional lag that accompanies this process.

Long read sequencing, copy number variant analysis using sequencing technologies are all novel methods that bring unique benefits to patient outcome. A critical aspect inherent to these technologies is the lack of quality metrics and control materials that can minimise false negative reports. The need for quality control and standardization is often what prevents hasty clinical adoption of new technologies.

The NML, NIBSC and UKAS are partnering with Mary Alikian with the aim to bridge the gap between the technical advances and their standardised implementation into clinical service. The objective is to conduct a survey scoping the quality-related culture across the network of seven Genomic Laboratory Hubs (GLHs).The longer-term vision formulates around building on the findings from the survey and empowering a focused working group to set priorities and action points, provide expert guidance and form a collaborative community encouraging knowledge transfer, training, and cross-GLH standardisation of novel technologies.

 


Sarah Misson-YatesSarah Misson-Yates
Head of Dosimetry and Computing, Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS foundation Trust

Project: Data sharing and protocols for quality improvement through national networks

Radiotherapy treatments are planned to maximise the radiation dose to the tumour volume and minimise the dose to organs at risk, to ensure that as much of the tumour is eradicated as possible whilst limiting the damage to normal tissues. Prior to commencing a new treatment technique or joining a clinical trial, radiotherapy centres should have a dosimetry audit to ensure the patient’s treatment can be delivered safely within the set limits.

NPL have been undertaking dosimetry audits for over 30 years for new techniques and are developing a centralised database for audit reports and results called DAART (dosimetry audit for advanced Radiotherapy). Audits for standard techniques, new equipment and routine annual audits are undertaken by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine’s (IPEM) Interdepartmental Dosimetry Audit Group (IDA).

For newer techniques, ongoing audit is not directly funded, so regions develop their own local protocols to assess centres maintenance of standards, preventing wide adoption of one national protocol. This also prevents direct comparison of data between centres to ensure that the dosimetric accuracy of patients’ treatments are being maintained and improved.

The partnership between Sarah Mission-Yates, NPL and UKAS will provide  a direct collaboration with the IPEM IDA to develop national dosimetry audit protocols which can be delivered by the IDA to provide ongoing safety checks.

The project will also allow for the DAART database to be developed to include IDA audit data so that centres can access their audit data in one location.

These outcomes will complete the radiotherapy dosimetry audit cycle providing additional safety checks on the delivery of patient’s treatment throughout the UK and enable the ability of centres to track their data in a centralised location.

 


Stuart Scott

Stuart Scott
Centre Manager, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Project: Standardising acute myeloid leukaemia minimal residual disease testing

Measurable residual disease testing allows the detection of extremely low levels of malignant cells remaining after cancer treatment. It can be used to predict which patients will relapse and which will maintain their remission.

There are several exciting new treatments becoming available for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). To assess the effectiveness of these treatments within clinicals trial highly accurate measurable residual testing is required which is comparable between laboratories.

The partnership between Stuart Scott, NML, NIBSC and UKAS will assess the need for standardisation of this measurable residual disease testing for AML.

The project will also draw on the expertise of the NHS and research scientists who developed the first WHO International Genetic Reference Panel for Quantitation of BCR-ABL1 mRNA in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia - a previous collaboration with NIBSC that has played an important role in the remarkable improvements seen in life expectancy in this disease.

Ultimately the project will look to improve testing for AML measurable residual disease testing, improving the accuracy of clinical trials and facilitating better patient management.

Previous projects
Partner organisations
Frequently asked questions

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