Winners Announced at Medical Futures Innovation Awards 2008

Despite the credit crunch, leading doctors and scientists proved that healthcare innovation is alive and well in the UK, as the Medical Futures Innovation Awards were presented to innovators for a breathtaking showcase of potentially revolutionary innovations that could transform patient healthcare in the next decade and beyond.

The awards ceremony took place on the grounds of Honorary Artillery Company in central London, in front of a distinguished audience of 800 top business leaders, medical and scientific experts, and policy makers.

Awards were won for a series of novel products and services including a form of injectable bone, a stem cell therapy to repair damaged cardiac muscle, a dental imaging technique that does not use x-rays, targeted genetic techniques to optimise cancer treatments and a portable hand held hearing device to detect hearing loss in less than 30 seconds.

A Lifetime Achievement Award was also presented to Sir James Black OBE, OM, FRS, for his exceptional contribution to drug discovery, medicine and patient care, both as a physician and as a scientist. A Scottish doctor, Sir James developed two major families of medicines that have transformed patient care in cardiology (beta blockers) and gastroenterology (anti-ulcer histamine receptor blockers). His invention of the beta blocker propranolol, revolutionised the medical management of heart disease and is considered to be one of the most important contributions to clinical medicine and pharmacology of the 20th century. His work on cimetidine, an H2 receptor antagonist, has transformed the treatment of stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal conditions dramatically reducing the number of operations carried out in the UK. Sir James was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988 for these discoveries.

The Medical Futures Innovation Awards aim to discover the next breakthroughs in healthcare and overcome the challenge historically faced in the UK of being great at innovating but poor at subsequently taking ideas to market. A unique feature of the Medical Futures process is the input from our esteemed judging panels, composed of over 80 leading medical, scientific and business experts. Each of the judges is keen to offer help and guidance to the up and coming innovators of tomorrow. As well as the critical recognition and endorsement of an award, winners receive a bespoke package of support to turn ideas into viable propositions that have credibility with investors. To date, past winners have secured over 80m of funding, and most importantly many have gone onto become successful services or products that are now changing peoples' lives.

The overall cardiology innovation award, was won by a team from Imperial College, London, for developing a new technique using heart stem cells that could repair the damage to the cardiac muscle caused by heart disease and heart attacks.

The overall cancer innovation award was won by a new point of care test for diagnosing bladder cancer. It is non invasive, may be much cheaper and should reduce the need for cystoscopy to diagnose bladder cancer.

Gloucestershire- based Medisoft won the overall award in the ophthalmology category for an electronic patient record system for eye departments.

The overall winner in the dentistry and oral health category is a new form of imaging that will enable dentists to produce images of teeth, bones and gums without the need for xrays and their associated risks.

The overall award winner in the ENT & audiology innovation category went to Sensaurial Ltd., for a hand held medical device that can be used to improve the diagnosis of hearing loss. The hand-held device will carry out a hearing test in less than 30 seconds and can be carried out in the community unlike the cumbersome current tests which have to be carried out in a hospital.

Liquid bone with the texture of toothpaste that can be used in the 1.5 million bone graft procedures performed annually worldwide was the overall winner in the orthopaedic category. A team of scientists and surgeons from Nottingham won the award for developing a synthetic, biodegradable material which has the texture of toothpaste but when injected into the body hardens within 15 minutes, at body temperature and has similar characteristics to normal bone. It could reduce the need to take bone from other parts of the body, or from other donors when carrying out bone grafts.

The MRC Translational Research Innovation Award was awarded to the Moorfields Motion Displacement Test (MDT) for glaucoma detection. This is a software program for assessing the field of vision to detect glaucoma and offers the advantages of portability, affordability and potential accessibility through the internet and takes just takes 90 seconds per eye to detect vision problems.

The best business proposition award was won by a team from Cambridge University that have pioneered a series of genetic techniques that can help determine which groups of cancer patients will better respond to cancer medicines based on their genetic profile. The company is already profitable despite being a start up and can save its pharmaceutical company customers hundreds of millions of pounds and shorten the drug discovery time scale.

Commenting on the winners, Mr. Andy Goldberg, MD FRCS (TR&Orth), founder of Medical Futures said: "The brightest and best of British medical and scientific talent have astounded us with their award winning innovations that are so full of promise and have the capacity to transform patients' lives." He continued, "Despite the credit crunch, I hope that the winners will also win recognition from the business and investment community, to support their translation into commercially viable products, services and businesses. We want to ensure that UK healthcare innovations and their wealth creation capability stays in this country for the benefit of UK patients and those around the world rather than being lost overseas to the detriment of UK Plc."

The Medical Futures Innovations Awards, run by a team of doctors, businessmen and media and communication experts, are part of a wider offering that includes educational and networking events between industry and the medical profession.

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