Meet our researchers

Through our funding, we’ve supported over 100 urologists to explore new ways to better diagnose and treat urology diseases. This investment has expanded the community of urological expertise in the UK and delivered ground-breaking research. Here are the profiles of just some of the remarkable researchers who have benefited from The Urology Foundation's support.

IMG_8981
mark_emberton

Professor Mark Emberton

Professor of Interventional Oncology at UCL and Consultant Urologist

Creating advanced technology that has changed clinical practice

In 1997, Mark and his team used The Urology Foundation’s funding to develop an interactive computer model that could be used to teach surgeons how to perform TURP operations. This was the first attempt to create a technology that has become more commonplace today, with the advanced technologies that are now available.

Mark says:

“My whole career has come as a consequence of that initial funding. Without that funding I might not have gone on to be the Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at UCL, where I manage a £170m budget, I might not have received millions in funding for further research, I might not have published over 300 papers or been cited 25,000 times.

“Because I had that initial investment I’ve been able to develop the first change in the prostate cancer pathway in 100 years, I’ve had focal therapy included in prostate cancer treatment guidelines worldwide, and I’ve developed new strategies for men dealing with LUTS to improve their symptoms – these guidelines have now been adopted worldwide. I’ve been very successful and it’s because I had TUF’s initial investment in my career.”

charlotte_bevan

Professor Charlotte Bevan

Professor of Cancer Biology at Imperial College London

Researching new ways of treating advanced prostate cancer

Charlotte received funding from The Urology Foundation and the John Black Foundation in 2015 to discover new ways of treating advanced prostate cancer. Prostate cancer growth is driven by testosterone, which works though androgen receptors. Charlotte’s research focussed on new ways of inhibiting androgen receptors.

Charlotte is hopeful that the research she undertook with this funding could lead to clinical trials and, eventually, a new treatment for prostate cancer that slows down, halts, or even reverses therapy-resistant prostate cancer.

Charlotte says:

“The Urology Foundation funding has been really valuable and came along just at the right time. The Urology Foundation has a very flexible attitude to working with their researchers and are always very responsive. It’s been a wholly positive experience to work with them.

“Thanks to their funding, apart from the scientific progress there are also other advantages to the research community in the UK. The post-doctoral researcher, Damien Leach, who has been undertaking the lab research for this project is now in a position to apply for fellowships and become an independent researcher. This is really promising as he has blossomed throughout this research process. The Urology Foundation is really investing in the next generation of talented scientists through researchers like Damien.

“As for myself, The Urology Foundation’s funding of this research has expanded my horizons, enabling me to work with large computational datasets and expand my research network, both in the UK and abroad, in a really valuable way.”

 

shalom

Mr Shalom Srirangam

Consultant Urologist

Understanding the impact of kidney stones

Shalom received a small research grant from The Urology Foundation to launch a pilot study into how stone disease affects people when they’ve left hospital, as well as the potential impact on their family, employment and the economy.

Whilst many urologists have an appreciation for how patients experience kidney stones when they are in hospital, it is hard to know what kidney stones are like for patients on a day-to-day basis when they’ve returned home.

Shalom recruited 90 people to take part in a pilot study that will see them fill in regular questionnaires and a bespoke patient diary. Shalom and his team hope to gain a better understanding of the real impact of kidney stones.

Shalom said:

“Without The Urology Foundation, we wouldn’t have been able to get this project off the ground. This kind of funding from The Urology Foundation has a niche and important role to play; it can be very difficult to get a piece of work off the ground with large funding if you can’t show that you’ve done initial work. By investing in the initial phases of these projects, The Urology Foundation proves itself to be invaluable and is helping us to generate income far beyond their initial investment.

“For me personally, this project has made me far more aware of what an impact research has on the day-to-day work of clinical practice. Everything we do needs to have a good evidence base, but it so often doesn’t have as much evidence as is necessary. This research has a real role to play.

“Certainly, this research has made me far more aware of what my patients experience once they’ve left the hospital: previously I’d been in the dark, but now I have a far more holistic view.”

John Kelly UCLH

John Kelly

Professor of Uro-Oncology at UCL and Consultant Urologist

Funding for research into bladder cancer

Back in 1997, John received a grant to research the prediction of chemosensitivity of bladder cancer to Mitomyacin-C: quantitation of induced apoptosis and its relationship to Bd-2 and Bax ratios.

In more recent years, John and his team have received funding from The Urology Foundation that has led to a new biomarker for bladder cancer that can detect bladder cancer in 98% of cases. The test examines 150 markers, as opposed to the usual two or three markers. It’s believed that the test, as well as giving patients a more accurate first time diagnosis, will save the NHS £25 million a year.

John says:

“Almost 25 years ago I first received funding from The Urology Foundation and I still have the silver letter opener that was awarded to me along with the funding. I’m still filled with pride whenever I use it! The funding was so important to me and led to work in bladder cancer that has been my area of interest ever since.

“Personally, I would like to say a big thank you to The Urology Foundation for funding my research all those years ago. We’re very lucky to have The Urology Foundation, a charity that is focussed on investing in our profession.”

marcus_drake_1

Professor Marcus Drake

Professor of Physiological Urology

Understanding how spinal cord injury affects bladder function

Marcus received funding in 1998 to understand how spinal cord injury affects bladder function.

Marcus’ research found that the change in nerve supply of the bladder allows the muscle to develop activity that is a significant nuisance for symptoms, and can be dangerous for its effect on kidney function.

Marcus says:

“The Urology Foundation’s initial funding gave me the opportunity to gain a research thesis, which in turn allowed me to apply for a post as a Clinical Lecturer. Since that initial investment in my career I have maintained my research output so that now I am a Professor of Physiological Urology at the University of Bristol.”

More from The Urology Foundation