Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust

Innovation fund grants - shaping the future of healthcare

The scheme, run in partnership with CUH’s Innovation Steering Group, supports ideas, services and products that could shape the future for patients. We are seeking to help progress innovative projects that are unlikely to secure support through commercial channels and that cannot be financed through NHS core funds

TrackMyPSA

TrackMyPSAOver 80 per cent of men with prostate cancer will survive for at least five years and these rates are improving steadily. However, they all need monitoring and follow-up checks of their PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels. Currently, men have their PSA blood tests done in primary care and their results are reviewed with them in an outpatient clinic at the hospital.

There are 2,000 men being treated this way at Addenbrooke’s, but the situation is becoming unsustainable as the population grows.

Through our innovation funding stream, this year we are supporting the evaluation of TrackMyPSA.  This new web tool has been created by staff from the Department of Urology and empowers patients to self-manage their PSA levels. The tool’s features include email PSA check reminders, the ability to set warning thresholds and log treatments. It also has a single screen chart display and can be easily accessed from home or across any clinic or primary care setting.

Successful implementation of TrackMyPSA could significantly reduce the need for frequent clinic visits, increase patient confidence in PSA monitoring and be highly cost-effective.

3D clinical care

3D printing samples3D printing is rapidly becoming an integral component of clinical care, playing an important role in research, patient investigation, education and management as well as student and staff teaching.

The ability to produce anatomically correct models cost-effectively is revolutionising how surgeons approach complex reconstructive surgery, for example, allowing them to perform procedures previously deemed impossible.

Staff at Addenbrooke’s did not have direct access to a 3D printer and models had to be obtained from external sources, with inevitable delay.

In the financial year 2014/15, we funded an on-site printer, associated building adaptations and a two-year technician post.

Clinicians can now be actively involved in the 3D design phase, speeding up the production process and ensuring the resulting model fully meets each individual patient’s requirements.

Around 40-60 models are currently being printed per month, and this number will undoubtedly grow as the various specialist services in the hospital discover the clinical benefits of the technology. 

Treatment for children with eating difficulties 

TREATMealtimes are special for most of us as we enjoy delicious food in the company of our family and friends.  However, some children have a food aversion which not only brings tension to the table but can have long-term implications for their health and wellbeing.

A new initiative, Treatment for Reluctant Eaters (TREAT), was launched earlier in the year through ACT’s new innovation funding programme.  This funding stream aims to progress innovative projects which are unlikely to secure support through commercial or NHS channels, but have the potential to help shape the future for patients. 

The paediatric feeding team at Addenbrooke’s cares for young patients who are dependent on tube-feeding or prescribed nutritional supplements.  These children have a food aversion which makes it difficult for them to progress to normal eating and have to make repeated clinic visits to be slowly weaned from their nutritional support.

TREAT is an intensive programme, spanning just a week.  Children take part in sensory and food play, singing and storytelling in a playroom setting to help them see that food can be enjoyed.  Parents are supported too and receive training on how to encourage their child’s eating at home.

“Children begin to develop a curiosity about food.  They love making cars out of bananas, for example, and sticking on the cucumber wheels.  Also, by intensively supporting parents we are empowering them to help move their kids forward.  The benefits are felt across the whole family.”

Dr Camilla Salvestrini, Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist