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News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A clinical trial funded by Arthritis Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) led by professors from the Universities of Liverpool and Bristol has discovered a drug combination that could help thousands of children with arthritis. Over 5,000 children and adolescents with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) in the UK are likely to develop uveitis, a condition that causes inflammation in the middle layer of the eye. The drug combination discovery will help preventing them from serious complications, including blindness. The trial was first of its kind in the world and the findings are a major step forward for children with JIA. The drug therapy has already been approved for use and the study is published today in The New England Journal of Medicine. The trial's Co-Chief Investigators, Professors Michael Beresford and A. V. Ramanan, and colleagues from across the UK, found that a drug called Adalimumab, in combination with Methotrexate, was an effective therapy in children and adolescents with JIA-associated uveitis. The majority (75 per cent) of those children treated with Adalimumab experienced a significant reduction in eye inflammation. An early analysis of the data was so convincing that the trial was stopped early. In this randomised, placebo controlled trial on review of 90 of the target 149 patients with JIA-associated uveitis, the data and safety monitoring committee noted that the Adalimumab group had evidence of a significantly lower risk of treatment failure than the placebo group. This multi-centre trial involved extremely close collaboration between paediatric rheumatology and ophthalmology colleagues across the country and was sponsored by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, and co-ordinated by the Clinical Trials Research Centre at the University of Liverpool. The trial outcomes directly led to the changes in commissioning guidelines and resulted NHS England approving the use of Adalimumab in children with uveitis that threatens their sight, and for whom other treatments have proven ineffective. Professor Beresford from University of Liverpool's Institute of Translational Medicine and Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust said: "This landmark trial has demonstrated the commitment and leadership of colleagues across the UK in working closely with patients and parents in tackling a key priority of finding the very best way of caring for children with arthritis and this serious problem of uveitis. "It has shown the UK to be extremely well placed to deliver challenging trials in children, with the support of the NIHR Clinical Research Network and networks that are in place across the UK." Professor Ramanan from University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and University of Bristol said, "Uveitis in children is an important cause of loss of vision. This study demonstrates the benefit of Adalimumab in children with uveitis. This is the first randomised trial of its kind worldwide and the results will have a major impact in children with uveitis all around the world." There are 15,000 children and adolescents in the UK with the auto-immune disease JIA. One third of those are likely to develop uveitis, leading to more serious visual impairments and may be registered as blind. Stephen Simpson, director of research and programmes at Arthritis Research UK, said: "We are thrilled of the outcome of this trial and the huge promise it heralds for transforming the quality of life for the large numbers of children with JIA-associated uveitis. "This trial is an impressive example of how investing in exceptional science can ultimately help change how treatment is delivered with direct and immediate benefit for patients." The full study, entitled 'Adalimumab plus Methotrexate for Uveitis in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis' can be found here http://www.


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.techrepublic.com

Hospitals across England are having to cancel patient operations and divert ambulances after a major ransomware attack on the National Health Service (NHS). Computer systems in 48 different hospital and health trusts across England, as well as a handful in Scotland, have been infected by the Wanna Decryptor ransomware. Declared a "major incident" by NHS England, the attack has led to phone systems going offline and IT systems being shut down in some hospitals. "A number of NHS organisations have reported to NHS Digital that they have been affected by a ransomware attack," said a statement by NHS Digital, which runs IT systems for the health service. "This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organisations from across a range of sectors. "At this stage we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed." As is the case in ransomware attacks, criminals have encrypted computer files at the health and hospital trusts and are demanding an online payment for decryption. It appears to be the case that digital details of patient records and appointments have been rendered inaccessible, with some hospitals reverting to paper records. Reports suggest the ransomware is demanding a bitcoin payment of $300 to decrypt files. Hospitals across England have been affected, including those run by East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust, Barts Health in London, Essex Partnership university NHS trusts, the university hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS foundation trust, Southport and Ormskirk hospital NHS trust and Blackpool teaching hospital NHS foundation trust, as well as GP surgeries in Manchester and Liverpool. A number of hospital trusts in Scotland have also been affected, and had to shut down IT systems and restrict non-emergency care. "We are experiencing a major IT disruption and there are delays at all of our hospitals. We have activated our major incident plan to make sure we can maintain the safety and welfare of patients," Barts said in a statement. Barts, East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust and Colchester General Hospital are postponing all non-urgent appointments for today, with Barts also diverting ambulances to neighbouring hospitals. Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust was one of a number of health trusts that shut down all IT systems. "We'd like to reassure patients that if they need the NHS and it's an emergency that they should visit A&E or access emergency services in the same way as they normally would and staff will ensure they get the care they need," said Dr Anne Rainsberry, incident director for NHS England. "More widely we ask people to use the NHS wisely while we deal with this major incident which is still ongoing." Healthcare is a high-profile target for cybercriminals mounting ransomware attacks, accounting for 15 percent of attacks. A ransomware attack against an LA hospital last year highlighted the problem, taking the network offline for days until the hospital paid a $17,000 Bitcoin ransom. NHS Digital said it is working with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations and to protect patient safety. Organizations beyond the NHS are being targeted by the Wanna Decryptor ransomware attacks, particularly in Spain, where communications giant Telefonica said it had been affected by a "cybersecurity incident". UK prime minister Theresa May told the BBC: "This is not targeted at the NHS, it's an international attack and a number of countries and organisations have been affected." Wanna Decryptor is a variant of the WCry, a ransomware first spotted in February this year. Those infected with the latest variant are instructed to pay 0.1 Bitcoins for decryption. This version is more robust than the original, providing workarounds for the ransomware, in case anti-malware software is able to remove elements of it. Spain's national CERT warned of a "massive attack of ransomware" worldwide and said the ransomware's potency resulted from it exploiting a known software flaw called EternalBlue. This Windows flaw was part of an hoard of software vulnerabilities apparently collected by the NSA, and later leaked by the so-called Shadow Brokers. Update: As of the afternoon of Saturday 13 May, computer systems at all but six of the affected health trusts have returned to normal, according to UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd.


News Article | May 14, 2017
Site: www.techradar.com

Update: Organizations and individuals across the UK, Europe and beyond are scrambling to restore their computer systems after a ransomware program called WannaCry caused an unprecedented level of disruption over the weekend. In the traditional ransomware style, WannaCry demands bitcoin payments before it will unlock files that have been encrypted on users' machines, as well as spreading itself automatically to other networked computers. It's believed that the malware exploits a security hole in unpatched, older versions of Windows, including Windows XP. On Sunday, Europol said 200,000 victims in 150 countries were believed to be hit so far, with another wave of attacks potentially on the way as people begin to switch their office computers back on on Monday morning - giving the ransomware new ways to spread. The National Cyber Security Centre in the UK is warning both businesses and individuals to be on their guard, especially those running older versions of Windows. The NCSC site also includes some smart advice for protecting your computers against ransomware of this kind. The NHS in the UK, Telefónica in Spain, Renault in France and dozens of other companies are believed to be affected, with reports that WannaCry has now spread to more than a hundred countries. Microsoft has taken the unusual step of pushing out a Windows XP security patch for the bug, some three years after official support for XP ended. As of Sunday afternoom, the scale of the damage was still being assessed, and it'll be some time yet before affected systems can be cleaned up and put back on their feet. It's safe to say if you're struggling to connect with any kind of computer system this weekend, anything from train times to doctor appointments, WannaCry could be to blame. The NHS in the UK was one of the first organizations to raise the alarm, and our original report continues below. The NHS has confirmed that a number of hospitals across England have been the victims of a large scale cyberattack, with NHS employees taking to social media claiming that PCs in their hospitals were displaying a message saying "your computers are now under their control and pay a certain amount of money. And now everything is gone.” Taking over a PC and threatening to delete its data unless money is paid is a classic move of ransomware viruses, and while they can cause anguish and disruption when infecting home and business machines, when it comes to hospitals lives could be at stake. Affected hospitals are postponing all non-urgent activity and are asking people not to come to A&E. Instead people should dial 111 for urgent medical advice, or 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency. A statement released by East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust, which covers some of the hospitals affected, says that “today (Friday, 12 May 2017), the trust has experienced a major IT problem, believed to be caused by a cyber attack. “Immediately on discovery of the problem, the trust acted to protect its IT systems by shutting them down; it also meant that the trust’s telephone system is not able to accept incoming calls.” According to the BBC, the attack has also spread across Europe, hitting mobile brand Telefonica too. It increasingly appears to be a sophisticated, coordinated attack. Unfortunately, it was only a matter of time before a cyberattack of this scale would hit hospitals, with a warning from Andrew Avanessian, vice president at Avecto, a global security software company, circulating a few days ago that said that “hospitals are often targets due to the value of the data they hold. Not only does patient data have a resale value, it’s sensitive enough that NHS Trusts are likely to pay a ransom to get it back if it becomes encrypted.” While we’d often advise people infected by ransomware to contact the police before paying any sort of ransom – mainly because there’s no guarantee that the malicious users behind the malware will release your data even if they get paid – the NHS doesn’t have that luxury considering lives could be at stake. Avanessian suggested that it could be outdated software that caused the problem here, saying “outdated systems can often be to blame, and it’s bad news for patients that 90% of Trusts are running old versions of Windows that are riddled with security holes.” He suggested NHS trusts update their software as soon as possible, but sadly it looks like it’s too late. "We commend NHS England on reacting so quickly, and for being open about this attack," said Chris Ross, Senior Vice President, International at storage giants Barracuda. "Healthcare records holding sensitive and personal data are 100 times more valuable than stolen credit card details, so it comes as no surprise to see that NHS England has been targeted in this way. "Having been attacked the focus now must be to recover with minimal disruption. We would hope that the hospitals that have been hit have already devised and implemented a comprehensive backup recovery plan that will allow them to recover all encrypted files with minimal effort.  "This just goes to prove that cybercriminals don’t care who they target with ransomware, as long as the victim is willing to pay. All sizes of organisations have been targeted, and the impact is far reaching. It’s not just your hard-earned money that is at risk, it’s also your reputation, viability, and jobs." We’ll update this story as more information comes in.


News Article | May 14, 2017
Site: www.bbc.co.uk

More ransomware cases may come to light on Monday, possibly on "a significant scale", the UK's cyber-security agency has warned after a global cyber-attack. The National Cyber Security Centre has advised firms how to protect computers as they start the working week. It comes after Friday's attack caused disruption in 150 countries. In the UK, NHS hospitals, pharmacies and GP surgeries were the worst-affected. A handful of NHS trusts are still dealing with the problems it caused. In a statement, the National Cyber Security Centre said a ransomware attack of this type and on this scale could happen again although there is "no specific evidence" as yet. It said it knew of attempts to attack organisations other than the NHS, and warned more cases could "come to light" in the UK and elsewhere as the new working week begins. Ransomware attacks are "some of the most immediately damaging forms of cyber-attack", it said, and advised companies to: The NHS, Fedex and the main telecoms operator in Spain were among 200,000 known victims - organisations and private individuals - of Friday's global cyber-attack. The ransomware, which locked users' files and demanded payment to allow access, spread to 150 countries, including Russia, the US and China. In England, 47 trusts reported problems at hospitals, GP surgeries or pharmacies and 13 NHS organisations in Scotland were also affected. Some hospitals were forced to cancel treatment and appointments and, unable to use computers, many doctors resorted to using pen and paper. The cost of the attack is unknown, in the UK or beyond, but BBC analysis of three accounts linked to the ransom demands suggest hackers have already been paid the equivalent of £22,080. The Scottish government said the cyber-attack had been isolated and it expected that most NHS computers would be back to normal by Monday. NHS England has told patients to attend hospital if they have an appointment unless they are told not to. However, several trusts in England have issued their own advice to patients. As of Sunday night they were: The government is insisting that the NHS had been repeatedly warned about the cyber-threat to their IT systems. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said £50m of £1.9bn set aside for UK cyber-protection was being spent on NHS cyber systems to improve their security. But Labour say the Conservatives have cut funding to the NHS's IT budget and specifically a contract to protect computer systems was not renewed after 2015. The Liberal Democrats and Labour have both demanded an inquiry into the cyber-attack. In an interview on BBC One's Andrew Marr show, Sir Michael said NHS trusts had been encouraged to "reduce their exposure to the weakest system, the Windows XP", with fewer than 5% of trusts using it now. "We want them to use modern systems that are better protected. We warned them, and they were warned again in the spring. They were warned again of the threats," he added. Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth has written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to ask why concerns repeatedly flagged up about the NHS's "outdated, unsupported and vulnerable" machines had not been addressed. On ITV's Robert Peston, Mr Ashworth accused the government of having "cut the IT and infrastructure budget" by £1bn in the NHS, and said his party, if elected to power, would put £10bn into the infrastructure of the NHS. He called for the Conservatives to publish the Department of Health's risk register to see how seriously they were taking IT threats. Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said more than 120 public bodies were being contacted to ensure their defences were adequate. Kingsley Manning, a former chairman of NHS Digital - which provides the health service's IT systems - told the BBC on Saturday that several hundred thousand computers were still running on Windows XP. And a neurology registrar from London, Dr Krishna Chinthapalli, wrote an article for the British Medical Journal just a week ago, warning that hospitals would "almost certainly be shut down by ransomware this year". He told the BBC the NHS was in a tricky position - treating sick patients, as a 24/7 operation with specialist software - making update implementation complicated. "People developing ransomware know a hospital is a good target because the information is about patients and is time-sensitive - hospitals need to get their data back quicker," he said. Attacks on hospital data and patients were "despicable at the basic level", he said. Meanwhile, digital rights campaigners Open Rights Group has accused GCHQ of a "very dangerous strategy of hoarding knowledge of security problems". It said Britain's electronic surveillance agency was "in charge of hacking us and protecting us from hackers", making it hard to balance the risks of keeping vulnerabilities secret. Jim Killock, the group's executive director, said: "US and UK security agencies kept a widespread vulnerability secret rather than telling the companies so they could fix it." He called for the National Cyber Security Centre to be made independent from GCHQ. It's unlikely. Europol head Rob Wainwright said he was concerned that the number affected would continue to rise when people returned to work on Monday morning. He told the BBC there was an escalating threat from the virus, known as Wanna Decryptor or WannaCry, adding: "We've never seen anything like this - it's unprecedented in scale." Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning Are you a patient or an NHS employee? Are you still being affected by the cyber attack and its aftermath? Share your story with us by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.bbc.co.uk

NHS services across England and Scotland have been hit by a large-scale cyber-attack that has disrupted hospital and GP appointments. The prime minister said the incident was part of an untargeted wider attack affecting organisations globally. Some hospitals and GPs have been unable to access patient data, after their computers were locked by a ransomware program demanding a payment worth £230. But there is no evidence patient data has been compromised, NHS Digital said. The BBC understands about 40 NHS organisations and some GP practices have been hit. The NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland has not been affected. There is no indication of who is behind the attack yet, but the hackers demanded their payment in the virtual currency Bitcoin, which is harder to trace. Prime Minister Theresa May said: "This is not targeted at the NHS, it's an international attack and a number of countries and organisations have been affected." Mrs May added that the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was "working closely" with the NHS "to ensure that they support the organisations concerned and that they protect patient safety". Ambulances have been diverted from hospitals in some areas and there has been disruption at some GP surgeries as a result of the attack. NHS England said patients in an emergency should go to A&E or access emergency services as they normally would. Dr Anne Rainsberry, NHS incident director, added: "More widely, we ask people to use the NHS wisely while we deal with this major incident, which is still ongoing." A massive ransomware campaign appears to have attacked a number of organisations around the world, with reports of infections in more than 70 countries. Telefonica, the Spanish telecoms company which owns mobile network O2, said it had detected a "cybersecurity incident" but that clients and services had not been affected. Screenshots of a program that locks computers and demands a payment in Bitcoin have been shared online by those affected. NHS Digital said the attack was believed to have been carried out by the malware variant Wanna Decryptor. "Our focus is on supporting organisations to manage the incident swiftly and decisively, but we will continue to communicate with NHS colleagues and will share more information as it becomes available," it said. There could be a lot of reasons why the NHS was hit so hard by this attack. The most likely one is because it is a huge organisation supported by a massive IT infrastructure. It also has lots of partners and suppliers that connect to its core network. Complexity is the enemy of security and it is a fair bet that some bits of that network, especially those operated by suppliers, are not as well maintained as they should be. This could mean that patches that would have thwarted WannaCry were not applied. So, as soon as the worm got in, it could run rampant. Dr Chris Mimnagh, who works at a medical centre in Liverpool, said the attack had made its job impossible. "Our entire patient record is accessed through the computer - blood results, history, medicines. "Most of our prescribing is done electronically... it's sent direct to the pharmacy and... all that is not able to be accessed when we lose the clinical system." Dr Emma Fardon, a GP in Dundee, said she had returned from house visits to find a message on the surgery's computers asking for money. "We can't access any patient records. Everything is fully computerised," she said. "We have no idea what drugs people are on or the allergies they have. We can't access the appointments system." Dr Afzal Ashraf, an expert on cyber-security who has previously worked as an adviser to the government, told the BBC it was likely that the malware was spreading when NHS services shared documents and information. But he also said he thought it was unlikely the attackers had deliberately targeted the NHS. He added: "I think they probably attacked a small company assuming they would get a small amount of money but it's got into the NHS system and now they have the full power of the state against them - because obviously the government cannot afford for this sort of thing to happen and be successful." Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning Are you a staff or a patient in the NHS? Have you been affected by this? If you are willing to do so, share with us by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.cnet.com

Banks, telephone companies and hospitals have all been ensnared in the worldwide hack, with the malware locking down computers while demanding a hefty sum for freedom. The attack has hit thousands of computers across China, Russia, Spain, Italy and Vietnam, but hospitals in England have attracted the most attention because lives are at risk while hospital systems are locked down. As of Sunday morning, more than 100,000 organizations in at least 150 countries had been affected, according to Europol, the European Union's police agency. The spread of the attack was temporarily halted Friday night when a UK cybersecurity researcher inadvertently activated a "kill switch" in the malware's code, said a Guardian report. That gave US firms additional time to patch their systems to avoid infection, but the researcher said his fix would eventually be sidestepped by the hackers, and it didn't help networks already hit by the ransomware. Among them were IT systems and phone lines in National Health Service hospitals in the UK. The East and North Hertfordshire NHS trust updated its website shortly after the attack, telling visitors that they were "currently experiencing significant problems with our IT and telephone network." "The investigation is at an early stage but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor," the NHS said in a statement Friday. Avast detected up to 52,000 attacks from the WanaCrypt0r 2.0 ransomware, also called the WannaCry ransomware, yesterday. The majority of the new malware was targeting Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan, Avast Threat Lab team lead Jakub Kroustek said. The malware had spread across 74 countries as of Friday. On the Malware Tech blog's tracker, cybersecurity researchers showed that more than 70,000 computers had been affected by the ransomware. The UK's National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England were working to support hospitals that had been affected. IT systems were shut down to prevent the virus from spreading further throughout networks. Hospitals were discouraging people from visiting unless they needed emergency treatment. Ransomware is malware that encrypts important files, essentially locking people out of their computers unless they pay up to prevent their entire system from being deleted. Attacks of this kind have spiked in the last year, jumping from 340,665 in 2015 to 463,841 in 2016, according to Symantec. The health care industry has become a major target, with ransomware making up more than 70 percent of malware attacks against hospitals, pharmacies and insurance agencies. The ransomware is holding each computer hostage for $300 in Bitcoin (roughly £230 or AU$400). The malware demands that hospitals pay by May 15, or all the encrypted files will be deleted by May 19, according to cybersecurity firm Foursys. The firm manages cybersecurity for 140 of the NHS' hospitals. "Maybe you are busy looking for a way to recover your files, but do not waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service," the Wana Decrypt0r 2.0 malware threatened. The NHS said Friday that no private patient data had been stolen. Andy Wool, Foursys' marketing director, said it wasn't a targeted attack on the NHS but an exploit that took advantage of the NHS system's vulnerability. The same ransomware hit Telefonica in Spain. "Emergency operations may have been cancelled, and automated systems that help monitor in- and outpatients could be affected as well," Wool said. "It is all hands on deck to try and stop the spread." The ransomware uses a vulnerability on Microsoft's older systems. The company patched the issue in newer systems in March, but many of the NHS' computers were running on Windows XP, Wool said. Microsoft released a special security update for older systems on Friday. The exploit was first discovered by the National Security Agency, whose hacking tools were leaked by a group called the Shadow Brokers. The NSA didn't respond to requests for comment. Multiple hospitals in the NHS Trust relayed the same message across social media, advising people against heading to hacked facilities while they were suffering from IT problems. In a statement Friday from the NHS Merseyside's information management and technology services, the trust said there had been a "suspected national cyberattack." "We just don't understand the mentality of some people. The only people suffering are people that need emergency care," NHS staff wrote in a tweet. As of 3:30 p.m. local time yesterday, up to 16 hospitals had been affected by the ransomware, according to the NHS. The ransomware has hit hospitals in London, Blackburn, Nottingham, Cumbria and Hertfordshire, according to the BBC. The Lancashire Post reported that hospitals were using pen and paper to record medical notes for the time being. First published May 12, 8:39 a.m. PT Update, 9:05 a.m. PT: Adds comments from Foursys, which manages cybersecurity for the NHS. 9:46 a.m.: Adds more details on the Wana Decryptor 2.0 ransomware 11:10 a.m.: Adds details on global outbreak of ransomware. May 13 at 10:49 a.m.: Adds that spread of attack was temporarily halted Friday night. 12:17 p.m.: Adds that Microsoft released a special security update for older Windows systems. May 14 at 10:20 a.m.: Adds updated numbers on computers affected. Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech's role in providing new kinds of accessibility. Batteries Not Included: The CNET team reminds us why tech is cool.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 4.93M | Year: 2014

The global Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) market was $25.5bn in 2001 and is growing. The market potential for future robotics and autonomous systems is of huge value to the UK. The need for expansion in this important sector is well recognised, as evidenced by the Chancellor of the Exchequers announcement of £35m investment in the sector in 2012, the highlighting of this sector in the 2012 BIS Foresight report Technology and Innovation Futures and the identification of robotics and autonomous systems by the Minister for Universities and Science in 2013 as one of the 8 great technologies that will drive future growth. This expansion will be fuelled by a step change in RAS capability, the key to which is their increased adaptability. For example, a home care robot must adapt safely to its owners unpredictable behaviour; micro air vehicles will be sent into damaged buildings without knowing the layout or obstructions; a high value manufacturing robot will need to manufacture small batches of different components. The key to achieving increased adaptability is that the innovators who develop them must, themselves, be very adaptable people. FARSCOPE, the Future Autonomous and Robotic Systems Centre for PhD Education, aims to meet the need for a new generation of innovators who will drive the robotics and autonomous systems sector in the coming decade and beyond. The Centre will train over 50 students in the essential RAS technical underpinning skills, the ability to integrate RAS knowledge and technologies to address real-world problems, and the understanding of wider implications and applications of RAS and the ability to innovate within, and beyond, this sector. FARSCOPE will be delivered by a partnership between the University of Bristol (UoB) and the University of the West of England (UWE). It will bring together the dedicated 3000 square metre Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), one of the largest robotics laboratories in Europe, with a trainin and supervising team drawn from UoB and UWE offering a wide breadth of experience and depth of expertise in autonomous systems and related topics. The FARSCOPE centre will exploit the strengths of BRL, including medical and healthcare robotics, energy autonomous robotics, safe human-robot interactions, soft robotics, unconventional computing, experimental psychology, biomimicry, machine vision including vision-based navigation and medical imaging and an extensive aerial robotics portfolio including unmanned air vehicles and autonomous flight control. Throughout the four-year training programme industry and stakeholder partners will actively engage with the CDT, helping to deliver the programme and sharing both their domain expertise and their commercial experience with FARSCOPE students. This includes regular seminar series, industrial placements, group grand challenge project, enterprise training and the three-year individual research project. Engaged partners include BAE Systems, DSTL, Blue Bear Systems, SciSys, National Composites Centre, Rolls Royce, Toshiba, NHS SouthWest and OC Robotics. FARSCOPE also has commitment from a range of international partners from across Europe, the Americas and Asia who are offering student exchange placements and who will enhance the global perspective of the programme.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 573.84K | Year: 2015

By 2018, it is estimated that the number of people in the UK with three or more long-term conditions, also known as multimorbidity , will have grown from 1.9 million to 2.9 million. Various chronic diseases develop simultaneously in response to common risk factors such as smoking, diet, ageing and inactivity. The four most common chronic diseases are cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary heart disease and diabetes. A recent study found that over 97% of patients with moderate to severe COPD had at least one concomitant chronic disease. In clinical settings processes are complex and are influenced by a number of social, technical and organisational factors. This complexity can result in variation in how physicians practice, appropriate care is documented, and healthcare costs managed. To reduce inconsistencies, clinical guidelines have emerged based on the best existing evidence, with the aim to support clinical staff and improve the quality of healthcare. Current guidelines almost entirely focus on single conditions. As a result, applying multiple guidelines to a patient may potentially result in conflicting recommendations for care. In software system design and development, we create computer systems capable to support diverse interactions between the environment/users and the system. These interactions often reflect different and possibly conflicting viewpoints, such as those presented by different users or stakeholders. Although software system specification and patient care guidelines seem different, inherently they have something in common. In both cases we have procedures and executions of (partially) ordered sequence of actions (aka activities or tasks) called traces of execution in computer science or pathways in clinical practice. In the case of computer-based systems, actions are carried out by users or computers (more specifically individual components or objects in the system). In the case of care guidelines, actions are carried out by physicians, patients and carers. In both cases, conflict may arise when individual executions and pathways are incompatible. In this proposal, we investigate automated methods of detection of conflicts in clinical pathways for multimorbidities and propose solutions that resolve them .


In people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), the incretin effect is reduced, but the recent advent of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 agonists/analogues has enabled restoration of at least some of the function of the incretin system, with accompanying improvements in glycaemic control. Two GLP-1 receptor agonists/analogues are currently approved for the treatment of T2DM-exenatide (Byetta®, Eli Lilly & Co., Indianapolis, IN, US) and liraglutide (Victoza®, Novo Nordisk, Bagsvaerd, Denmark); a once-weekly formulation of exenatide (Bydureon®, Eli Lilly & Co.) has also been approved by the European Medicines Agency. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recently published guidance on the use of liraglutide in T2DM, based on evidence from the Liraglutide Effect and Action in Diabetes (LEAD) Phase III trial programme, which compared liraglutide with existing glucose-lowering therapies, such as exenatide and insulin glargine. The LEAD programme reported HbA1c reductions from 0.8 to 1.5% with liraglutide (1.2 and 1.8 mg), accompanied by low rates of hypoglycaemia and some weight loss; side effects were primarily gastrointestinal in nature (e.g. nausea and diarrhoea). Based on the findings of the LEAD studies and the NICE recommendation, liraglutide now represents an important therapy widely available in the UK for certain patient groups, including those with a body mass index (BMI) ≥35.0 kg/m2, and patients with a BMI <35 kg/m2 who are considered unsuitable for insulin and are failing to meet targets for glycaemic control with oral agents. NICE guidelines still suggest that most patients without considerable obesity (BMI <35 kg/m2) are probably best managed using insulin therapy. Evidence also suggests a future role for GLP-1 mimetics in combination with basal insulin. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Daniels R.,NHS England
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy | Year: 2011

Severe sepsis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, claiming between 36000 and 64000 lives annually in the UK, with a mortality rate of 35%. International guidelines for the management of severe sepsis were published in 2004 by the Surviving Sepsis Campaign and condensed into two Care Bundles. In 2010, the Campaign published results from its improvement programme showing that, although an absolute mortality reduction of 5.4% was seen over a 2 year period in line with increasing compliance with the Bundles, reliability was not achieved and Bundle compliance reached only 31%. This article explores current challenges in sepsis care and opportunities for further improvements. Basic care tasks [microbiological sampling and antibiotic delivery within 1 h, fluid resuscitation, and risk stratification using serum lactate (or alternative)] are likely to benefit patients most, yet are unreliably performed. Barriers include lack of awareness and robust process, the lack of supporting controlled trials, and complex diagnostic criteria leading to recognition delays. Reliable, timely delivery of more complex life-saving tasks (such as early goal-directed therapy) demands greater awareness, faster recognition and initiation of basic care, and more effective collaboration between clinicians and nurses on the front line, in critical care and in specialist support services, such as microbiology and infectious diseases. Organizations such as Survive Sepsis, the Surviving Sepsis Campaign and the Global Sepsis Alliance are working to raise awareness and promote further improvement initiatives. Future developments will focus on sepsis biomarkers and microarray techniques to rapidly screen for pathogens, risk stratification using genetic profiling, and the development of novel therapeutic agents targeting immunomodulation. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.

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