Speaker Abstracts

Professor David Allsop

Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, School of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University
Aß oligomers - a Potential Biomarker for the Diagnosis and Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, and a Target for Therapeutic Intervention
Professor David Allsop

Abstract

Several lines of evidence suggest that ß-amyloid (Aß) plays a central role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Soluble oligomers, rather than amyloid fibrils, are now thought to be the principal pathogenic form of Aß.

In collaboration with researchers in Japan (see Fukumoto et al. (2010) FASEB J. 24: 2716-2726) we have recently developed a novel immunoassay for high-molecular-weight (HMW) Aß oligomers and have detected significantly elevated levels of these oligomers in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from patients with AD or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), compared to controls. Furthermore, the levels of HMW oligomers showed a negative correlation with cognitive ability, as assessed by MMSE scores.

Thus, CSF HMW Aß oligomers could, potentially, be used as a biomarker for early detection of AD, and/or as a marker for tracking disease progression.

We have also developed a peptidomimetic (retro-inverso-peptide) inhibitor that blocks the formation of Aß oligomers in vitro and is particularly effective against the longer and more pathogenic Aß42 (see Taylor et al. (2010) Biochemistry 49: 3261–3272).

Development and implementation of approaches such as these, for the early detection and treatment of AD, will be essential for coping with the increasing numbers of dementia sufferers in ageing populations.

Biography

David Allsop, Professor of Neuroscience at Lancaster University, has a long-standing interest in the role of protein aggregation in neurodegenerative disease.

He started this line of research at the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, where he was the first person to isolate senile plaque amyloid from frozen post-mortem brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the first to raise monoclonal antibodies to Aß. As a post-doctoral researcher, he subsequently worked with George Glenner (University of California, San Diego) and at The Tokyo Research Institute of Psychiatry.

He obtained his first academic position at The Queen’s University of Belfast, where he co-authored a highly cited review article which sets out the basis of the ‘amyloid cascade’ hypothesis (Hardy & Allsop (1991) Trends Pharmacol. Sci. 12: 383-388). He then moved to industry (with SmithKline Beecham) before accepting an academic position at Lancaster University.

His current research is focussed on detection of amyloidogenic proteins in body fluids as potential biomarkers, and on development of drugs to inhibit protein aggregation.

Other recent work has identified the generation of reactive oxygen species from aggregating proteins as a potential common mechanism of cell death in neurodegenerative disease.

Professor June Andrews

Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling
Why Dementia Demands Technological Solutions
Professor June Andrews

Abstract

  • How big the market is
  • What you can do

Biography

Professor June Andrews is the director of the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling. The DSDC provides training, education, research and information about how to improve care for people with dementia. Professor Andrews is a psychiatric and general trained nurse and previous posts include working for the government in the Health Department, being the Director of Nursing of two general hospitals, leading the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland, and working as a nurse in psychiatric and geriatric hospitals.

Because the number of people with dementia increases all the time as the population ages, the need for training and education in the field increases all the time. Professor Andrews is called upon internationally by governments, local authorities, health services, the private sector and voluntary organisations to give help and advice on how to improve services. Her main emphasis is on what is practical and makes a difference.

Dr Donald Bruce

Edinethics Ltd
Help the Aged or a Nano-Elixir of Life?
Ethical reflections on Technologies for Ageing Populations
Dr Donald Bruce

Abstract

In Western Europe we now live much longer on average, but many also have the distress of seeing loved ones reach extreme old age with much loss of dignity. Robotic devices in the home and remote monitoring of health parameters could prove a real practical boon.

But what of regenerative research into the diseases of old age? If technical advances translate into clinically viable treatments, significant degeneration may be arrested. But then more people would in future live into extreme old age.

Would this merely put off the problem? Throughout history, medicine has sought to put off death which occurs before its due time. Suppose we found mechanisms, perhaps to keep cells alive longer, should we try and increase our normal lifespan? How long are we supposed to live for? What happens if our quality of life cannot keep up with its lengthening span? Does a point come where conventional medical assumptions about research no longer hold? In a world of great global inequity, is regenerative research distracting us from addressing more basic global health needs? And what of the transhumanist claim that we could one day have a technical fix for mortality?

Biography

Dr Donald Bruce is managing director of the independent consultancy Edinethics Ltd., working on ethics of emerging technologies. He holds doctorates in chemistry and theology. From 1976-92 he worked in nuclear energy research, safety and risk regulation, and energy policy. From 1992-2007 he was Director of the Church of Scotland’s Society, Religion and Technology Project (SRT), doing pioneering ethical assessment of many emerging technologies including GM crops and animals, cloning and stem cells.

He has worked on nano- and converging technologies since 2003, in many contexts, including the ground-breaking EC FP6 Nano2Life project. He is currently doing ethical research on human enhancement in the FP7 ETHENTECH programme, and on stem cells for toxicity testing in ESNATS. He is a member of the advisory board of the Institute of Nanotechnology and gave its Albert Franks lecture at the Royal Society in 2007.

He has worked extensively in public engagement with the New Economics Foundation created Democs card games on nanobiotechnology, synthetic biology and human enhancement, and Open-up argument maps. He was a former member of the Scottish Science Advisory Committee, the Societal Issues Panel of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Public Affairs advisory group of Bioltechnology Research Council.

Dr Matt Dalby

Biomedical & Life Sciences Department, University of Glasgow
Dr Matt Dolby

Abstract

The presentation will focus on the use of nanoscale topogaphy to influence mesenchymal stem cells with particular focus on targeted differentiation and retention of stem cell phenotype. The talk will also consider use of nanoscale topography as a way of understanding mesenchymal stem cell mechanotransduction. Finally the talk will survey a few new material strategies for control of mesenchymal stem cells.

Biography

Matthew Dalby is a Reader in Cell Engineering and is a member of the Centre for Cell Engineering, University of Glasgow. From 2003-2008 he was a BBSRC David Phillips Fellow before becoming a Lecturer in 2008 and a Reader in 2010. He has published around 65 papers on bone tissue engineering, biomaterials and nanobioscience including in Nature Materials. His research is funded by BBSRC, EPSRC and the Chief Scientist's Office. As well as his basic research he two patents and has been funded two BBSRC follow on grants and has secured funding from the GU EPSRC KTA in nanotechnology. He has won over ten prizes including NEXXUS West of Scotland young life scientist of the year, Tissue and Cell Engineering Society New Investigator Prize and The Society for Experimental Biology's Presidents Medal. He is co-founder (along with orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Dominic Meek, of the Glasgow Orthopaedic Research Initiative, GLORI).

Professor Dermot Diamond

National Centre for Sensor Research, Dublin City University
Remote Sensing and the Aging Population – Emerging Opportunities and Associated Pitfalls
Professor Dermot Diamond

Abstract

In this talk I will first focus on sensing capabilities from indirect sources that will be implemented in every home in the coming decade (utilities monitoring). Subsequently, I will discuss more direct sensing of health and activity based on wearable sensors, and finally, I will consider societal, legal and ethical issues that could inhibit the adoption of these technologies.

  • Indirect: Extracting life patterns and building services from Utilities monitoring
  • Direct: Potential capabilities of Smart Fabrics/Wearable Sensors for personal health monitoring
  • Ethical issues and barriers to adoption

Biography

Dermot Diamond received his Ph.D. and D.Sc. from Queen’s University Belfast (Chemical Sensors, 1987, Internet Scale Sensing, 2002), and was VP for Research at Dublin City University (2002-2004). He has published over 240 peer-reviewed papers in international journals, is a named inventor in 13 patents, and is co-author and editor of three books.

He is currently director of the National Centre for Sensor Research at Dublin City University, and a Principle Investigator in CLARITY, a major SFI funded research initiative focused on wireless sensor networks. In 2002 he was awarded the inaugural silver medal for Sensor Research by the Royal Society of Chemistry, London and in 2006 he received the DCU President’s Award for research excellence.

View more details of his research >>.

Speaking at Glasgow University's Wolfson Centre >>.

Dr Malcolm J. Fisk

Health Design and Technology Institute, Coventry University
Telehealth Service Developments in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities
Dr Malcolm J. Fisk

Abstract

Substantial attention is being given throughout the European Union to the role and shape of telehealth services. The context is much more than one that relates to financial restraints affecting the way in which healthcare is proffered. Rather it relates to (a) a change in service paradigms such that user issues are properly recognised and responded to; (b) a growth in services (including health coaching) and technology configurations that enable self-support; and (c) a movement away from purely clinical agendas to ones concerned with wider well-being.

At the same time, the importance of such services is indisputable – given demographic changes and the imperative to support independent living in community contexts. The opportunities to empower people through such technologies is substantial; and 'disruptive' telehealth e.g. arising from set top box and mobile ‘apps’, may help in this process. By reference to knowledge gained through the TeleSCoPE project, this paper sets out the European context; and explores both the opportunities and some of the barriers that are hampering their realisation.

Biography

Dr Malcolm J. Fisk is Senior Research Fellow at the Health Design and Technology Institute (HDTI) of Coventry University in the United Kingdom. In that capacity he leads the European Commission funded TeleSCoPE Project that, with thirteen partners in seven countries, is developing a European Code of Practice for Telehealth Services.

Malcolm also plays a key role in furthering the development of HDTI as a major player in supporting service transformations towards frameworks that are more personalised and empowering for service users.

Outside of the University Malcolm has recently completed a four year term, on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government, as Chair of the National Partnership Forum for Older People in Wales; and four years as elected Chair of the Telecare Services Association (TSA). The TSA has 350 members including providers of telecare and telehealth services to 1.7 million people in the UK. Malcolm remains an active Board Member.

Malcolm also heads up Insight Social Research Ltd. and Smart Isis Ltd. both with special interests that include age, disability and sensory impairment. His recent or on-going research work concerns the evidence base for telehealth interventions; technologies in the identification of falls and seizures; the role of home care workers; lighting interventions for people with visual impairments; and services to support the health and well-being of ex-seafarers.

Dr Herman Lenting

Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)
Decubitus Prevention and Accelerated Wound Healing
Dr Herman Lenting

Abstract

Bedsores like Decubitus is a serious problem for people who are immobilised for a longer time (for instance patients in hospitals and care-houses) and its treatment (including prevention) is rather costly: more than 17 billion euro each year for Europe. Since society is facing an ageing population, and especially the elderly people are facing bedsores, the Decubitus issue requires more medical attention and tools for prevention and wound healing.

In a European Integrated project for SMEs called Lidwine, we developed different product concepts for Decubitus prevention and accelerated wound healing in situations (open) wounds occur. The concepts take up different circumstances which may lead to Decubitus initiation like the constant pressure at certain areas of the human body, sensitiveness of the skin in these areas for friction, the impact of humidity on skin condition and it’s sensitiveness for infection.

In this presentation I will give an overview of the different product concepts developed, among which a controllable contractive cuff for pressure alternation and stimulated blood circulation, coatings with reduced friction properties and different systems for infection prevention and infection treatment with release-on-command systems.

Biography

Herman Lenting is senior researcher at the Department of Innovative Materials of the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). He obtained his PhD at the Biochemistry Department of the University of Utrecht in 1988. After a post-doctoral fellowship he moved to Gist-brocades N.V. (now DSM) and later on Genencor. In both companies he developed enzymes for industrial use in the areas of pharmaceuticals and detergents. In 1997 he returned to the University (of Twente) concentrating on the integration of enzyme technology in production processes of textiles.

In 2000 he moved to TNO. He coordinated and participated in 9 European research projects related to enzyme application in textile processes, modification of biopolymers, ultrasound and coating technology and theragnostics. At present he is coordinating the European IP-SME Lidwine project which is focusing on prevention and accelerated healing of Decubitus wounds. His current research interests are in the functionalisation of surfaces and in encapsulation for "release on command". He has published over 25 papers in peer reviewed journals, wrote chapters in 2 textile books and is holder of 8 patents.

Richard Moore

Institute of Nanotechnology
Chair
Richard Moore

Biography

Richard Moore is responsible for nanomedicine and lifesciences at the Institute of Nanotechnology (IoN) in Stirling, Scotland and also coordinates IoN's activities on nanotechnology governance issues. He has worked in the medical sector for 20 years and has wide-ranging experience in medical technology innovation, regulation, governance, standardization and risk management.

Prior to joining IoN early in 2007 he worked for 10 years as Director of Science and Innovation at the European Medical Technology Association, EUCOMED in Brussels, six years as Project Manager for Healthcare at the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), also in Brussels, and eight years as Project Manager in the Chemical and Health Department of the British Standards Institution (BSI).

Professor Ilmari Pyykkö

Tampere University Hospital
Restoring Hearing and Balance in the Elderly – A Challenge for Nanotechnology
Professor Ilmari Pyykko

Abstract

Age related hearing loss is among the most common impairment form the 9th most severe disorder in EU. Approximately 44 million people suffer from with hearing loss and 40 000 are profoundly deaf in EU. As the mean age of population is increasing also the number of people with hard of hearing will increase. In addition to the hearing loss the vestibular part of inner ear will also undergo degenerative changes during ageing and produce a symptom entity consisting of presbyequilibrium that may provoke accidental falls fear of falls. Mostly these changes are genetically predisposed and part of the susceptibility genes are known today. The medical prevention and treatment is restricted by the fact that the inner ear is difficult to access as it is buried deep in the temporal bone and isolated from circulation by tight barriers.

The goal of the nanotechnology project is to develop novel multifunctional nanoparticles (MFNPs), which can be applied with non-invasive emthods, are targetable to selected cell populations, biodegradable, traceable in-vivo, and equipped with controlled drug/protein/gene release, the inner ear as a unique target. With novel growth factors, their mimetic and gene products the therapy of inner ear disorders may become for the first time possible. Moreover, the population of profoundly deaf the benefits of sensory neuroprostheses through tissue engineering strategies, will provide a direct pathway to clinical application of NP-drug complexes.

We stand poised on a new world of therapeutic opportunity using nanotechnology to give us the means for safer treatments and the precise delivery of targeted and effective novel drugs or replacement genes. The successes of Nanotechnology are demonstrating the principles of developing these products that will serve as a model for the future of nanomedicine of nervous system. Along with getting the acceptance from scientific community on the new technology the public awareness of benefits of nanotechnology in medicine should be increased.

Biography

Current positions: Professor and head of department of Ear-, Nose- and Throat Diseases, University of Tampere. Previous positions: Professor, University of Helsinki (1990-11995), Professor and head, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm (1995-2002). Several EU-grants and national grants

Main clinical and research topics: Working on clinical oto-neurology. Main research fields cover: Nanotechnology based targeted drug and gene delivery, Vestibular evaluation, Inner ear imaging, Artificial intelligence in assessing hearing loss and dizziness, Genetic aspect of hearing loss

Professor Pyykkö coordinates the Nanoear project that will manufacture a targeted synthetic nanoparticle based vector. His research in this field will focus on nanotechnology based gene delivery into the cochlear nerve, in vitro and in vivo, and toxicology assays. Data from Nanoear project will be employed in the selection of most promising candidates for neural targeting. His team has developed a novel model of shear stress induced hearing loss. His research has been focusing on neurological disorders in relation to nanoparticle-MRI and specifically addressed questions in MRI analysis on hearing disorders. His team has as first demonstrated in man and in guinea pig the endolympahtic hydrops and membrane leakage of inner ear. His group has also an outstanding record on epidemiologic studies in hearing loss and modelling of hearing loss with over 300 papers on hearing, its mechanisms and modelling.

Professor Louise Robinson

Institutes of Health and Society/Ageing and Health, Newcastle University
Caring for the Oldest Old: Assistive Technologies and 21st Century Care
Professor Louise Robinson

Abstract

Soon people over 65 years of age will outnumber those under 16 years; the majority of care for our ageing populations will undoubtedly be in the community. Interestingly the oldest old, (the over 85s), are the fastest growing sector of the population. Early data from the Newcastle 85+ Study, a large cohort study exploring the health of 800 85 year olds suggests that although this group have considerable multi-morbidity, their self-rated health and level of functioning is relatively good. Most are living independently in the community; however considerable support is provided through family and informal networks.

Studies like this enable us to identify future challenges in caring for the oldest old such as poly-pharmacy and palliative care for people with multiple chronic conditions; new models of care may be needed to meet the needs of a 21st century population. This presentation will:

  • i) Summarise the changing socio-demographic nature of our populations
  • ii) Provide an overview of the health of older people in the UK, especially the oldest old, using data from national cohort studies (Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study and the Newcastle 85+ Study) and
  • iii) Explore the role of assistive technologies in the care of our ageing populations

Biography

Louise Robinson is a GP and Professor of Primary Care and Ageing at the Institutes of Ageing and Health/Health and Society, Newcastle University. She has been an academic General Practitioner for 17 years and earned her MD from Newcastle University in 1999. Her research programme is centred on Primary Care and Ageing, with a special interest in the care of people with dementia in primary care.

Louise is currently the Royal College of General Practitioners National Clinical Champion for Ageing and Older People. She also leads the Primary Care Clinical Studies Group of the Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network (DeNDRoN). Louise is part of the project team for the Newcastle Medical Research Council (MRC|) 85+ study and the Newcastle group for national MRC Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC CFAS). She has recently co-authored chapters on the mental health of older people in primary care and end of life care for older people for the Oxford Textbook of Old Age Psychiatry and the Oxford Textbook of Practical Geriatrics.

Melanie Turieo

Cambridge Consultants
User-Friendly Connected Healthcare Technologies for an Older Population
Melanie Turieo

Abstract

A patient-centered and coordinated approach to healthcare could save billions, according to a recent survey of leading healthcare providers, patients, payers and technology enablers.

Remote monitoring of the baseline health condition of elderly patients by healthcare professionals such as physicians and visiting nurses, as well as by their lay caregivers, will increase the focus on patient well-being and care coordination which can improve overall health outcomes, as well as reduce wasteful spending in defensive medicine, inefficient claims processing, medical errors and E.R. services.

The proliferation of wireless and monitoring technologies makes health-monitoring solutions possible, but it is important, especially when targeting an aging population, not to allow "technology push" to completely drive the definition and development of these systems. Equally as important is the "user-pull" – taking into account the specific needs, goals, capabilities and limitations of the target user population to ensure an agreeable patient experience.

Patient acceptability is critical to product success as ease of use and acceptability lead to adoption of the system, and adoption leads to compliance and therefore improved health outcomes.

Biography

Melanie Turieo is a Group Leader and Principal Human Factors Engineer in Cambridge Consultants' Medical Technology Division in Boston, Massachusetts.

She has over 15 years experience providing human factors and program management expertise to the design and development of medical devices and consumer products. Her project work has included drug delivery devices, wearable physiological monitoring solutions, and remote health monitoring applications.

Her areas of expertise include; user needs analysis, design and execution of user research to support the product development process, and HF validation of regulated and safety-critical products.

Melanie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University School of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Factors Engineering, and a minor in Engineering Management. She is author of several conference and journal publications, and is a full member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.