A team from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and University College London Hospitals (UCLH) are preparing to introduce the first service providing fetal surgery for spina bifida in the UK.
This pioneering surgery is being brought to the UK thanks to charitable funding totalling £450,000 from GOSH Children’s Charity and UCLH Charity. The funds are being used to facilitate research, provide training for the surgical team through collaboration with a team at KU Leuven, Belgium and surgery for the first 10 patients.
The preparations to introduce the service are a focus of BBC 2 Horizon documentary Spina Bifida and Me which airs tonight, 26 July, at 9pm. Actress Ruth Madeley, who was born with the congenital spine defect spina bifida, sets out to discover why she has it and what the future holds for people with spina bifida.
During the hour-long documentary, Ruth follows GOSH neurosurgeon Dominic Thompson and the rest of the team at GOSH and UCLH as they prepare to perform this groundbreaking surgery for the first time in the UK.
The NIHR University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre, the NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre and UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (ICH) are also supporting the research.
Great Ormond Street Hospital Lead Neurosurgeon, Dominic Thompson,says: “The groundbreaking work of the Centre for Prenatal Therapy, offering new fetal treatments that will change the lives of children, wouldn’t be possible without funding from GOSH Children’s Charity.
“For many children treated at GOSH, research is their only hope. Thanks to many generous supporters, GOSH Children’s Charity is now the largest dedicated funder of paediatric research in the UK, investing funds to help discover new treatments and cures for children with complex and rare conditions.”
Watch ‘Spina Bifida and Me’ tonight, BBC Two, 9pm. The episode will also be available on BBC iPlayer shortly after broadcast.
For further information please contact the GOSH-ICH Press Office on 020 7239 3039.
For genuine and urgent out-of-hours queries call switchboard on 020 7405 9200.
Notes to Editors
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust is the country’s leading centre for treating sick children, with the widest range of specialists under one roof.
With the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, we are the largest centre for paediatric research outside the US and play a key role in training children’s health specialists for the future.
Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity needs to raise money to support the hospital to give children who need help the most the best chance for life. The charity funds patient and family support programmes, provides the latest medical equipment and supports the essential redevelopment of the hospital. It has also launched a five-year strategy to support research in some of the most serious and complex childhood diseases. Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity is the largest dedicated funder of paediatric research in the UK and our work is entirely funded through the generosity of supporter donations. For more information visit www.gosh.org