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Drama brings patient perspective centre stage in annual meeting

Over 140 people came to Leeds on November 8 to take part in our 4th and largest Annual Meeting to date, focusing on technologies driving precision medicine.

Gutted playThe highlight of the meeting was a performance of ‘Gutted’, a one-woman play co-written and performed by Liz Richardson (pictured left), based on her real-life experiences as a young woman living with ulcerative colitis.


HTC Programme Manager, Vee Mapunde, said: “Having a patient perspective is central to all our projects and this was a really new and interesting way to bring the patient’s viewpoint into our annual meeting.”

The day began with a welcome from HTC Lead, Professor Steve Smye of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Cllr Rebecca Smallwood, Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adults at Leeds City Council. [watch their presentations]

HTC Clinical Director, Professor David Jayne, gave delegates a synopsis of the HTC’s work [watch his presentation], before introducing the following three keynote speakers with expertise in key technology areas linked to precision medicine:

Professor Andrew Owen from the University of Liverpool and Chair of the British Society for Nanomedicine, described how nanotechnology is used for drug delivery and how this can help to address variability in patient response to drugs. [watch his presentation]

Professor Pietro Valdastri, who recently moved to the University of Leeds from Vanderbilt University in the USA, spoke about his research into medical capsule robots for use in gastrointestinal endoscopy and abdominal surgery.

Dr Phil O’Connell, inventor of the text-based ‘Florence’ telehealth service used widely by the NHS, spoke about how telehealth services can empower patients and radically change how healthcare is delivered. [watch his presentation]

HTCf presentationAs the HTC has a keen interest in training the next generation of researchers in this area, Dr Stephen Chapman led the session on the HTC Foundation (pictured right) which is a student-led innovation programme that engages students in interdisciplinary collaboration and enthusing interest in novel biotechnology. [watch their presentation]

During lunch, the delegates were able to peruse the information stands from a number of relevant organisations, including commercial sponsors of the meeting.  Coloplast and Medtronic were our gold sponsors, and Imaging Equipment Limited (IEL), Torax Medical Inc and Congentix Medical were our silver sponsors.

The afternoon session was more interactive and comprised ten round table working groups – involving a mix of delegates from industry, academia, clinical practice and patients.  These groups discussed novel ideas to address challenges identified by the HTC network. The challenges covered were:

  • using remote monitoring to improve efficiency and patient experience;
  • nanotechnology mediated drug delivery to enable personalised treatment strategies;
  • using robots to overcome human limitations;
  • tapping into the potential of students and trainees in biotechnology innovation;
  • new imaging technologies for precision surgery;
  • the need for innovation in the treatment of incontinence
  • optimising outcomes through improved diagnosis of colorectal disease and minimisation of surgical complications;
  • clinical evaluation of early technologies in the context of clinical trials;
  • maximising the use of light in laparoscopic surgery for precision surgery;
  • putting the patient’s perspective at the heart of technological innovation and product development

“The discussions were really productive,” said Professor Jayne. “It was a real bonus to have the keynote speakers involved in the roundtables which discussed the ideas they introduced in their presentations. We look forward to taking forward some of the ideas that came out of the discussions in the coming year.”

Poster session