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The Biosphere hosts workshop to generate ideas to address unmet clinical needs in children’s cancer care

July 15, 2019

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Despite improving survival rates, cancer is the leading cause of death in children and young people. There is a growing need for technology to support children and young people with cancer, as well as to support health care professionals to provide optimal care.

NIHR Children and Young People MedTech Co-operative (NIHR CYP MedTech) collaborated with the Academic Health Science Network North East and North Cumbria, NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria, MedConnect North, and Lab4Living to deliver an innovation workshop at The Biosphere, Newcastle Helix.

The aim of the workshop was to help identify potential technological solutions that have the potential to address unmet clinical needs in children’s cancer. The workshop brought together healthcare professionals, product designers, software developers, small and medium sized enterprises, academics and parents of children with cancer.

Attendees heard a series of short talks on how to develop innovative technologies in the NHS and unmet clinical needs in children’s cancer from clinician, nurse, and parent perspectives. Throughout the workshop, attendees worked in multidisciplinary teams to generate and develop ideas to address these unmet needs.

Based on Newcastle Helix, a £350m urban development scheme, The Biosphere is a purpose-built laboratory facility created to support the life science and healthcare sector in North East England.

Luke Dunnett, Property Manager from The Biosphere said: “We were delighted to host this event at The Biosphere and facilitate this collaboration. This workshop was a great way to foster innovation and generate ideas that are tailored to the needs of cancer patients themselves, their families and those providing the care.  Newcastle Helix has a vision to help people live better through innovation and this is a perfect example of how to do just that.”

NIHR CYP MedTech is one of the 11 MedTech and In vitro diagnostics Co-operatives (MICs) funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). The MICs act as centres of expertise to catalyse the development and adoption of medical technology into the NHS.

Dr Philippa Howsley, Project Manager, NIHR CYP MedTech said: “NIHR CYP MedTech was delighted to host the Innovation Workshop: Technology for Children’s Cancer at The Biosphere, Newcastle Helix. The workshop was very well attended by key stakeholders and together we developed several projects that could have a significant impact for children and young people with cancer, their families, and clinical teams. We will continue to support these projects over the coming months and years.”

The Biosphere has secured significant funding through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the Government’s Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Both funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.

To find out more about the Biosphere and future events visit

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