Our current projects
We believe everyone should have access to the best medical imaging. We invest in equipment, research and education to make this happen. Read about our current projects here.
- Project 1 - ITM Imaging Centre
A vital MRI research facility was needed for a leading research centre, The Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM) at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham (QEHB). The ITM is a strategic alliance between the University of Birmingham and three major teaching hospitals; the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Birmingham Women’s Hospital.
MRI scanners at the hospitals were being used purely for clinical need, due to high demand, which meant that vital research was not being undertaken.
Cobalt have invested £2m to develop the ITM Imaging Centre which includes a state of the art Siemens Skyra 3.0 Tesla MRI scanner and a purpose designed building for the QEHB site.
This transformational project will mean that clinicians and researchers will have access to state-of-the-art MRI facilities for research to improve patient care across a broad range of conditions.
The service enables a broad range of research for many specialties on the QEHB site, including cardiac, liver, oncology and neurosurgery; utilising the very latest technology, including new evaluating techniques which will support a wide range of research for the benefit of many patients. This service is delivered by both Cobalt and QEHB staff.
Peter Sharpe, Cobalt CEO said: ‘This exciting new venture helps to fulfil Cobalt’s objective to increase research particularly in oncology and neurology. We are very proud to be working with the Institute of Translational Medicine and the QEHB in this way.’
Professor Stuart Green, Director of Medical Physics at QEHB said: ‘For the first time clinicians and researchers will have access to state-of-the-art MRI facilities for research to improve patient care across a broad range of conditions.’
How can you help:
The project costs £2million. We have raised £1.25million so far and still need to raise the remaining £750k towards this project.
- Project 2 - Teenage and young adults nurse
The impact of a cancer diagnosis on children and families can be immense. Young cancer patients have unique biological, physiological and social needs during treatment which are distinct from other cancer patients. For teenagers and young adults, traditionally little care has put into place that delivers according to their specific needs, with patients often either treated alongside children of a younger age, or with adults.
The Cobalt TYA Cancer Nurse ensures that an appropriate framework, meeting the needs of young adult cancer patients, is established at a time when they are most vulnerable. Megan Willsher was appointed as the Cobalt TYA Cancer Nurse in June 2011 and is based at Cheltenham General Hospital, linking with colleagues in Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Bristol and Birmingham; she is one of only five TYA Cancer Specialist Nurses in the South West.
‘My role ensures these patients are supported throughout their cancer journey and beyond, helping them to move forward with their life, as they would have without the intrusion of cancer.’ Megan Willsher, Cobalt Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Nurse
‘I am grateful to Megan and to Cobalt for funding the job she does. She has been such a great support.’ Samantha (Patient)
How you can help:
The cost of providing this service is £28,000 per year. Please help to continue to support this valuable service for young cancer patients.
- Project 3 - Funding for PhD researchers
Improving cancer treatment is not just about developing and testing better cancer drugs. Cancer also needs to be diagnosed, and treatment needs monitoring – so there are huge efforts underway to improve and speed up cancer diagnosis and to find ways to monitor the success – or failure – of treatment. In the early stages, much of this groundwork might be viewed as ‘blue skies’ research and is not profitable for pharmaceutical companies to fund. A key charitable objective of Cobalt is to supporting research and education.
Cobalt is part - funding two PhD studentships at Biospectroscopy Research Labs, Exeter University, under the guidance of Professor Nick Stone, the University’s Head of Physics and Astronomy.
The first PhD was taken up by Louise Clark in 2013, entitled ‘Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy and surface enhanced spatially offset Raman spectroscopy for disease diagnosis’ .
Cobalt is currently fundraising in order to fund a further PhD opportunity at Exeter University, using Raman spectroscopy to help diagnose cancers. This project will help identify less invasive and novel methods of cancer diagnosis .
The results of both studies will be published and made available to the medical community and may pave the way for a less invasive method of cancer diagnosis.
How you can help:
Please help support this project so that we may continue to provide this valuable opportunity to a student, but also further studies into cancer research. Cost to cobalt over three years is £52,500.
- Project 4 - YOD scans
It is possible to diagnose dementia in the very early stages using Cobalt’s Siemen’s PET/CT128 mCT Flow Edge scanner. This is critical for patient wellbeing, care and treatment.
We currently carry out over 32 FDG PET/CT scans for Young Onset Dementia (YOD) patients for the 2gether Trust at a significantly subsidised fee. Cobalt also carries out Amyloid PET/CT scans for Young Onset Dementia patients for the 2gether Trust. We would like to continue to fund more of these scans for the 2gether Trust
How you can help:
To provide these subsidised scans we need to raise in the region of £50,000 each year.
- Project 5 - Cancer prevention team
Over 40% of cancers can be prevented; in many cases they are caused by the way we live our lives, in particular by smoking, leading a sedentary lifestyle, eating an unhealthy diet and drinking too much alcohol. Teaching about healthy lifestyles can help to reduce mortality rates by preventing some cancers and other serious diseases too.
At Cobalt, we have a specialist team working within the field of cancer prevention, visiting schools, colleges, businesses, social clubs and community projects to discuss preventative measures and raise awareness. Cobalt provides these vital services completely free of charge.
Cobalt’s cancer prevention team invests time and resource to support the national early diagnosis initiative. This initiative recognises the importance of raising awareness and reporting symptoms to your GP that could be an early sign of cancer. Early diagnosis increases the chances of successful treatment.
How you can help:
To support our cancer prevention programme we need to raise £31,000 each year. To request a talk by our cancer prevention team or for further information on their work please go to our contact page.
- Project 6 - School of clinical imaging
Cobalt is a leading provider of education and training for medical professionals from all over the UK, through the Cobalt School of Clinical Imaging. Advancements in medical imaging move quickly and it is vital that healthcare professionals have access to the latest thinking.
Cobalt provides a vital source of information, through a programme of full day specialist conferences and lecture series. The educational programme is a highly valued source of continuing professional development for the delegates and ensures that developments in research and best practice are widely shared for the benefit of all patients. Delegates range from doctors who specialise in cancer, dementia or medical imaging to GPs and physiotherapists. In 2016 over 800 medical professionals attended educational events and in 2017 we are expecting even more. The events are generally free or low cost to cover some of the expenses incurred.
Our vision is to further develop the School of Clinical Imaging programme to enable even more medical professionals to attend events, learn from each other and to evolve the role of diagnostic imaging for the benefit of every patient. Educating the public on cancer prevention and healthy living is also one the key objectives of the Charity.
How you can help:
We need funding to continue to deliver our education programme. Our conferences are engaging and attract the leading minds in the fields of Oncology and Dementia from all over the world to share their knowledge and experience with local doctors and specialists. Sponsorship Opportunities are available for our Conferences.
- 2gether Partnership
Research fund / 2gether Nurse
In partnership with the 2gether Trust, Cobalt provides a research nurse at the new Fritchie Centre at a cost of £40k pa. We are looking to increase funding so that we may provide another nurse, again at a cost of £40k.