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Research nurse receives grant for mesothelioma diagnosis work

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A charity grant has been awarded to a nurse-led study that aims to reduce the need for diagnostic surgery via a new method involving light technology.

The grant, for £21,795, has been awarded to Amy Kerr, senior thoracic surgery research nurse at the medical innovation development research unit at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham.

“This funding will give us a fantastic opportunity to transform the diagnosis pathway”

Amy Kerr

The Pat Stone Meso Support/Mesothelioma UK grant will fund a study into non-invasive diagnosis of mesothelioma using structured light plethysmography (SLP).

SLP is a new diagnosis method that measures chest wall motion which can highlight differences according to the disease that is causing abnormalities on chest X rays or CT scans.

The non-invasive process only takes five minutes and uses squares of light in a chequerboard to detect chest wall motion by changes in the size of the squares as the patient breathes.

A pilot study at the unit with 15 patients suggested it was a promising tool to help diagnose the cause of pleural disease, such as the differences between mesothelioma and benign pleural thickening.

Emerging results of the study will be presented at the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses conference in November 2018.

Integrating SLP into future clinical practice to diagnose mesothelioma could potentially improve the diagnostic process for patients with possible mesothelioma and reduce the need for hospital admission for invasive investigations.

Mesothelioma UK

Research nurse receives grant for mesothelioma work

Patient having the SLP procedure

It could also reduce the length of time patients have to wait for a diagnosis and it offers patients, who are not well enough to have surgery, a more confident diagnosis for their pleural disease which could help provide evidence for compensation claims.

Ms Kerr said: “I must say that I am humbled, honoured, and at the same time excited to receive the award from Pat Stone Meso Support, Mesothelioma UK and the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses.

“This funding will give us a fantastic opportunity to transform the diagnosis pathway for Mesothelioma patients for the better,” she said.

Liz Darlison, Mesothelioma UK director of services and consultant nurse, said: “We’re excited to hear about the results of the study which we hope will inform current diagnostic processes and perhaps lessen the need for surgery for people with suspected mesothelioma.”

Graham Pound, from Pat Stone Meso Support, added his organisation was “extremely proud” to be associated with potentially furthering the understanding and care of patients with mesothelioma, noting that it “continues to take the lives of substantially more people than are killed on our roads each year”.

Mesothelioma UK is a national resource centre dedicated to providing specialist mesothelioma information, support and improved care and treatment.

The centre, based at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, promotes the development of specialist mesothelioma nursing practice and funds 11 specialist nursing posts around the UK.

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