The first clinical trial of the pancreatic polypeptide analogue PP 1420 is featured by the Wellcome Trust.

World-beating Diabetes Foot Service

29th October 2010

St Mary’s Hospital is among world leaders in saving patients with diabetes from major limb amputations.

Its integrated care approach to diabetes means that its patients are less likely to lose their feet or legs as a result of diabetes complications than patients at most other hospitals in the world.

Lead consultant in diabetes medicine Dr Jonathan Valabhji said: “Westminster patients with diabetes are less likely to suffer these complications thanks to specialist multi disciplinary clinics with very close links to community centres and GP practices.

“As quickly as one working day after going to your GP with a foot ulcer, a patient with diabetes will have access to the care they need to prevent the problem from getting worse.”

Imperial Centre for Endocrinology Prestigious Research Award

8th February 2010

Consultant endocrinologist Dr Waljit Dhillo has been awarded the prestigious Goulstonian lectureship from the Royal College of Physicians.

The lectureship is awarded each year for academic achievements and has been running since 1639.

Dr Dhillo (pictured left) will deliver the Goulstonian lecture at the Royal College of Physicians later this year on his translational research into the hormone kisspeptin, which could be a novel therapy for infertility. He said: "I'm very proud to have received this award. It's a great honour to have my research acknowledged in this way and knowing that it has the potential to improve human health."

Dr Dhillo has looked at the effects of injecting kisspeptin into healthy human volunteers and more recently in infertile women. He measured their levels of two key hormones - luteinising hormone and follicle stimulating hormone - essential for ovulation and fertility.

His work has shown for the first time in humans that kisspeptin significantly increased these hormone levels when compared with a placebo.

Dr Dhillo continued: "Working at Imperial means that it's much easier for researchers to undertake human clinical studies of this kind because the entire infrastructure - from a dedicated clinical investigation unit, radiology and clinical chemistry support is already in place." His kisspeptin study was funded by an MRC experimental medicine grant.

Leading Pituitary Surgeon

Mr Nigel Mendoza’s substantial experience of pituitary surgery for Cushing’s disease results in outstanding clinical results for patients.

UK first – robotic neck surgery

4th January 2010

In a UK-first, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust clinicians have performed robotic-assisted neck surgery.

A team at St Mary’s Hospital has pioneered the use of the da Vinci robot to remove overactive parathyroid glands.

There are four pea-sized parathyroid glands in the neck that control the level of calcium in the blood.

When the glands become overactive, calcium levels rise causing complications such as weaker bones, high blood pressure and kidney stones.

Conventional treatment involves open or laparoscopic surgery to remove the abnormal glands, both of which leave a scar on the neck.

The Trust’s pioneering use of telerobotic surgery, however, avoids a neck scar because one small incision is made below the collarbone and three near the armpit, through which instruments and a camera are fed.

The surgeon manoeuvres the instruments from a console that provides a magnified, three-dimensional image of the patient’s anatomy and allows the surgeon to operate with greater dexterity and improved precision.

Ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultant Mr Neil Tolley, who led the team, said: "Robotic-assisted surgery has been used for several years in heart and prostate operations in specialist centres such as St Mary’s. Now we’re the first to use this technique in parathyroid surgery too.

“At Imperial College Healthcare we’re proud to offer our patients the latest treatments and surgical technologies to ensure they receive the very best care."

ENT research registrar, Mr Asit Arora, added: "We’ve had excellent feedback from patients who’ve had this procedure. In all cases, the abnormal gland was removed successfully, with virtually no blood loss, and patients returned home the next day."

Mr Tolley thanked other members of the team from endocrinology, radiology and anaesthesia, as well as Professor Darzi and the Imperial College Healthcare Charity, for their involvement and support in this work.