What we have funded
Thanks to your generous support, we have been able to provide research, facilities and equipment above and beyond that which is provided as standard by the NHS.
Fisher House is a ‘home away from home’ for military patients and their families at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
This means that when military patients are being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, which is home to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, their families can stay at Fisher House, built on the site of QEHB.
Due to the world class care carried out at QEHB, and the lessons learnt from the battlefield, servicemen and women often survive injuries today that they would have died from just a few years ago. But injuries sustained can be life-changing, and for their families, the knock at the door is something they dread.
When we speak to the families of injured servicemen and women, they tell us that, upon hearing their loved one is injured, they travel to Birmingham immediately without any thought given to where they will stay. Fisher House is here for them: a “home away from home” within walking distance of the hospital, providing a safe space for families to adjust and recover during this difficult time.
CyberKnife is a £3.5 million state-of-the-art radiotherapy machine, providing a pioneering, non-invasive alternative to open surgery that is able to treat tumours anywhere in the body. It enables very high doses of radiation to be targeted directly at the tumour with pinpoint accuracy, without damaging the healthy tissue.
CyberKnife joined the QEHB Cancer Centre’s cancer-fighting toolkit in 2013, and was entirely funded by generous donations to QEHB Charity.
CyberKnife treated over 500 patients within the first three years following installation. For many, this has meant that tumours which were previously considered inoperable have now been successfully treated. Thanks to your support in bringing CyberKnife to the QE, people have been given a second chance at life.
QEHB Charity has funded for specialist teachers for the Teenage Cancer Trust Young Person’s Unit at QEHB.
The hospital charity provides funding to The James Brindley School, a specialist school for young people with cancer. The funding provides two teachers up on TCT YPU to sit with young adults and help them with their studies five days a week; the teachers can also help with UCAS applications, interview skills and apprenticeship advice. This service is one to one education for young people with cancer whilst receiving their radiotherapy and chemotherapy on the unit.
Balancing an education as well as having cancer can be an extremely stressful experience; the charity’s aim is to help young adults keep on track with their studies and have a normal routine whilst receiving treatment. For students, the private lessons that James Brindley teachers provide are vital in ensuring their hopes and aspirations continue to develop and are not held back by cancer.
QEHB Charity has also funded ‘Grab Bags’ for each patient at YPU. Containing toiletries to console cables and coffee vouchers, the bags are designed to be welcoming and calming to the patients coming to be treated on the unit. Alongside this, QEHB Charity, with your support, funds DVDs, Xbox games, a music teacher and a weekly ‘Pizza Night’ for teenagers with cancer.
Toys for children with cancer
Children suffering from cancer come from all over the Midlands to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham for radiotherapy treatment.
Radiotherapy is a gruelling six-week long course of treatment. For each treatment, children are placed under anaesthetic in order to ensure that they do not move. This means that the young patients often awake disorientated and frightened.
Due to this, QEHB Charity raises money to buy each child receiving radiotherapy at QEHB a toy for when they complete their treatment, and each child is also given a special blanket to keep with them during their stay in hospital. The Paediatric Radiotherapy waiting room has also been transformed to become more child-friendly, thanks to your support.
With your donations we are also able to provide research grants to staff working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham allowing them to carry out vital investigative research into any field of medicine carried out at the hospitals, which could lead to finding new or more effective treatments for a number of illnesses.
As well as research grants, we provide grants for medical staff to go to courses regarding various conditions.
Medical research is essential for developing new treatments and improving patient outcomes such as quality of life and survival.
The newly-opened Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM) on the site of the QE focuses in particular on helping new laboratory research get as quickly as possible from the lab to the clinic.
Applying for a research grant is a difficult and time-consuming process which doctors usually have to complete in their ‘spare’ time, alongside their full-time clinical work. At the ITM, QEHB Charity has now funded five ‘starter fellowships’, which allow junior doctors to spend a year conducting pilot research so they can apply for more long-term funding.
The fellows are able to concentrate much more time on the research they want to carry out than they would otherwise be able to, and during their fellowships have full access to education facilities at the University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) and Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (BCH).
Aside from their own research, fellows also teach medical students, undertake medical cover work at the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, and continue with a varied amount of clinical work to ensure they stay up to date.
This is just one example of a growing number of research fellows QEHB Charity is able to support, thanks to your help.
Cancer drugs trial
QEHB Charity has launched a £1 million pound appeal, with cancer charity Get-A-Head and the University of Birmingham, to fund a new programme giving cancer patients access to new drugs quicker than anywhere else in the country.
Drugs trials through pharmaceutical companies can take up to ten years before they reach patients. By working with a team at the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education, led by Professor Hisham Mehanna, Chair of Head and Neck Surgery, patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham could receive new treatments after as little as twelve months.
Professor Hisham Mehanna explained: “Cancer is indiscriminate. It affects people of all ages and all races and indirectly, the patient’s loved ones. This appeal is about speeding up treatment by matching existing drugs, which have already been approved in other conditions like arthritis, to cancers where they have not been tried before.
“Everyday drugs could help fight cancer – we just need to test them out, which is why we need your support.
“Please help us raise the £1 million we need to match existing drugs, which have already been approved in other conditions such as arthritis, to cancers where they have not been tried before.”
If everyday drugs do have an effect on cancer cells, they will be cheap to produce and easy to supply, enabling patients to receive them quicker.
CIIC brings together a team of scientists from the University of Birmingham and cancer doctors from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, as they join forces to harness the power of the immune system in fighting cancer.
The Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy Centre (CIIC), which is funded by QEHB Charity, is directed by Ben Willcox, Professor of Molecular Immunology at the School of Cancer Sciences.
He explained: “Some of the strategies we are focusing on include ‘engineering’ immune cells to attack cancer cells better, and ‘arming’ antibodies to make them generate stronger immune responses against the tumour.
“To develop these new and exciting approaches, we need your help to fund critical research. Any money you can give will make a huge difference to the CIIC grouping.”
For more information about CIIC research, please visit www.ciic.org.uk.