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Patients in the spotlight at annual showcase of BRC research

Patients took centre stage at the BRC’s 2019 annual meeting which showcased BRC impact across research themes such as dementia, obesity and mental health, and looked ahead to upcoming research.

UCLH Chief Executive Prof Marcel Levi thanked the large number of patients in attendance in his opening address, saying patients are vital to research, before researchers and lay panel members presented on each theme’s achievements and the importance of patient involvement in research.

Prof Rachel Batterham, Obesity theme director, spoke alongside theme patient representative Ann Vincent about the need for personalised treatment for obesity, explaining that all UCLH patients treated for the disease are now invited to take part in research into new treatments.

Prof Anne Schilder, Deafness and Hearing Problems theme director, spoke alongside patient Terry Emery, who said while his cochlea implant – the result of research – is transformative, he now looks forward to the next stage of research at the BRC into prevention and genuine restoration of hearing.

And Dr Stefano Fedele, Oral Health and Disease theme director, previewed BRC research to improve early diagnosis of oral cancer, while patient Annabel Kanabus – whose son died after developing oral cancer and who has had the same cancer – spoke of the personal meaning this research has to her.

In a panel discussion, Prof Nick Wood (Neurological Diseases theme director), Prof Danny Alexander (Healthcare Engineering and Imaging theme director) and Dr Cath Mummery discussed the future of therapies in neuroscience, and when to involve patients in research (as early as possible, said Dr Mummery).

Haroon Chughtai, trainee clinical scientist at UCLH, said on Twitter: “I think the thing that struck me most about today's @UCLHresearch #BRCLookahead was how much that patients were at the centre of everything being done. Inspiring; this is why we work in healthcare!”

The UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering tweeted: “Impressive level of patient representation at today’s @UCLHresearch Annual Meeting should act as a model for future meetings - delivering patient impact is the core aim of all our research & patient voices vitally needed to identify what that impact should look like #BRCLookahead”

Speakers also highlighted the importance of partnerships in the BRC’s work, with BRC Director Prof Bryan Williams paying tribute to UCL as UCLH’s partner university in its research work.

And attendees were shown the BRC’s latest film on the support it provides to In2ScienceUK, which provides lab placements and career development support to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them access research degrees and careers.

Search #BRCLookahead on Twitter to see photos from the event and the conversations which took place on the day.