The University of Southampton
Medicine

Our impact

We have an outstanding reputation and are committed to the pursuit of excellence in biomedical sciences and clinical research. In the 2014 REF, 94% of the Faculty's research was rated 3 or 4* for impact. Our vision is to translate biomedical research into clinical outcomes that improve health worldwide. Below we feature just some examples of the ways that our research is impacting on lives of people in UK, and all over the world.

Catching drug cheats at the 2012 London Olympics
Detecting Growth Hormone misuse

Catching drug cheats in the 2012 Olympic Games

The development of a test to detect growth hormone (GH) misuse has long been a priority to combat cheating in professional sport. A University of Southampton led research team developed a new test, adopted at the 2012 Olympic Games, and identified two drugs cheats just weeks after launching. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has since announced its intention to roll out the test internationally

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Professor Marinos Elia develops the MUST App for the iPhone
Predicting malnutrition

Detecting and managing malnutrition: MUST

Research carried out at the University of Southampton has led to the development of a new tool for detecting and managing malnutrition in hospitals and clinics. The ‘Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool’ (MUST) - which uses a series of measurements for predicting and detecting malnutrition - is now integral to the UK’s health policy framework. It is used in over 80% of hospitals and care homes in England, and is now attracting significant international interest. Recognised by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) the MUST framework is has resulted in many millions of pounds of cost savings from the NHS.

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Laboratory researcher working on non-invasive test for liver fibrosis
Tool to detect liver fibrosis

Developing a non-invasive test for fibrosis severity in chronic liver disease

University of Southampton research into the development of biomarkers to predict fibrosis severity in chronic liver disease (CLD) has resulted in the development of a non-invasive test. With industry collaboration this test has been validated, CE marked, standardised and launched in the NHS. It is now available for use by clinicians throughout Europe and is only one of two CE-marked biomarker panels currently available in England.

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gene mapping to reduce risk
Genetic maps

Developing gene mapping tools to predict risk

University of Southampton research into the genetic causes of diseases has led to gene mapping techniques and applications benefiting patients worldwide. Our work has improved prediction, diagnosis and treatment for common diseases with a complex genetic basis such as age-related blindness, and provided cost-effective strategies for genotyping DNA samples relevant to humans and animal species. Our work also underpins industry development of individual genetic risk profiling.

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Globally, leukaemia accounts for some 300,000 new cases each year with 222,000 deaths
Monoclonal Antibody cancer treatment

Developing monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of leukaemia

Research by the University of Southampton has underpinned clinical development of a new class of anti-cancer monoclonal antibodies (mAb). The most progressed is a next generation drug to treat advanced chronic lymphocytic leukaemia approved following a significant response rate in patients. The now multi-million dollar drug is available in 26 countries and being used in 19 clinical trials worldwide for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

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Maternal diet in pregnancy can affect the offspring's health in adult life
Impact of maternal diet in pregnancy

Discovering the causes and consequences of dyslipidaemia

Research at the University of Southampton has led to key discoveries in the causes, development and consequences of dyslipidaemia and the metabolic syndrome. Through the introduction of new guidelines our studies have changed the commissioning of NHS services and influenced public health education, scientists and healthcare professionals. Our new clinical trials to test novel treatments have led to improved health for patients.

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Baby undergoing test for diabetes
Disorders of genetic imprinting cause diabetes

Discovering the first genetic form of diabetes and improving care for patients

University of Southampton researchers discovered the first genetic form of diabetes and suggested that it was regulated epigenetically by a process called parental imprinting. This work has critically advanced research on imprinting disorders and ultimately improved care pathways for patients. Our research is incorporated into international patient care guidelines for testing and treatment of Transient Neonatal Diabetes (TND) and has led to improved patient care for eight further genetic imprinting disorders.

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artist impression of schizophrenia

Dramatically improving care for people with schizophrenia

Psychosis research at the University of Southampton has dramatically changed the care of people with schizophrenia. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is now indicated for all schizophrenia patients and included in NICE guidelines. Our studies have led to widespread use of CBT for schizophrenia around the world. The UK Department of Health has also developed an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies implementation programme for CBT for people with schizophrenia.

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Patient undergoing dialysis
Accessibility of dialysis influences outcome

Improving care for patients with chronic kidney disease

Observational research led by the University of Southampton has made an important contribution to understanding the determinants and outcomes of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and evidenced the effectiveness and accessibility of dialysis for end-stage kidney failure in the UK. Our work has influenced haemodialysis services, informed national policy, and ultimately contributed to better patient outcomes.

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Our research into depression assessment has had significant impact on UK healthcare guidelines
Southampton informs NICE guidelines for depression

Improving patient outcomes for depression

University of Southampton research into the management of depression highlighted deficits in how the illness was assessed and treated by GPs and demonstrated that education alone failed to improve performance. Our findings were included in national guidelines leading to questionnaire assessments being introduced into GP contracts. Recent trial evidence also shows improved patient outcomes.

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Our research has driven major advances in international standards for lymphoma care and resulted in the development of new antibodies for its treatment
Lymphoma survival improved

Improving survival rates for patients diagnosed with lymphoma

A multidisciplinary research team at the University of Southampton has driven major advances in lymphoma care leading to the development and standardisation of new antibody treatments and optimal drug regimens. Our research has influenced care internationally and our findings underpin significant improvements in survival rates and life quality for the 14,000 people affected in the UK each year.

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tests combining low level sound detection with automated auditory brain stem testing were effective as a universal newborn screening for low level hearing impairment.
Newborn screen for hearing

Improving the prospects of babies with hearing impairment

Research at the University of Southampton was central to policymakers in the UK and over several continents recommending universal new born screening (UNS) for permanent childhood hearing impairment (PCHI). This common condition adversely affects language acquisition but early detection enables effective interventions. Immediately following our studies three million UK babies were screened and 5,000 cases identified benefitting literacy, academic success, well-being and employment.

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The risk of plaque rupture and stroke is reduced with dietary omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids in diet

Improving the treatment of cardiovascular disease

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods such as oily fish and are known to help protect against heart disease. Our research on the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids has directly improved the treatment of cardiovascular disease. This has led to lower death rates in patients, reduced healthcare costs and improved clinical practice. Our findings have helped set UK and European guidelines on nutrition, and have been licensed in several countries, helping us generate income to continue to pursue our ground-breaking research.

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Increasing awareness of alcohol-related liver disease
Increasing awareness of alcohol-related liver disease

Increasing awareness and reducing deaths from alcohol-related liver disease

The University of Southampton’s sustained program of clinical and policy alcohol research is intrinsically linked to a powerful media and political campaign co-founded by our academics and co-ordinated by the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA). The result has been a marked increase in public and political awareness, linked to a recent fall in liver deaths for the first time in many years.

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Southampton shows that the prognosis of CLL treatment can be predicted by immunoglobulin gene expression analysis
Improved CLL treatment

Predicting the progression of chronic leukaemia

Research by the University of Southampton has helped transform treatment of a common leukaemia affecting thousands each year. Our studies have been crucial in giving clinicians and patients a clear indication of the likely disease course. Additionally our chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) predictor is now included in all clinical trials and international guidelines for delivering improved care.

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Our findings indicated a marked excess of deaths from pneumonia in welders exposed to metal fumes
Dept Health recommends welders are vaccinated against pneumococcus

Preventing invasive pneumococcal disease in the UK's workforce

On the strength of evidence from University of Southampton researchers, the Department of Health (DH) recommended employers offer 80,000 welders vaccination against pneumococcus to prevent cases of invasive pneumococcal disease which can be fatal. The advice received extensive media attention and has influenced research and safety practice internationally

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The first human clinical study of active Aβ immunisation
Alzheimer's disease treatment

Redirecting the global search for an Alzheimer's cure

Research at the University of Southampton into amyloid beta protein (Aβ) immunisation to treat Alzheimer’s has changed the way the disease is understood. Our studies were pivotal in initiating clinical trials of immunotherapy agents, securing $3bn investment from the pharmaceutical industry and doubling UK funding to tackle the disease.

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Investigation of disease development across the generations
Disease development across the generations

Reducing the risk of osteoporosis in later life

Research at the University of Southampton’s MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (LEU) focusses on the determinants, across the whole lifecourse, of chronic non-communicable disease development (such as osteoporosis) in later life, and identification of novel interventions in early life that might reduce the burden of these conditions. Recently, our research has led to the world’s first randomised controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women. This work will provide an answer to the question of whether an intervention during pregnancy (e.g. vitamin D supplementation) can lead to an improvement in offspring health (in this case, bone and muscle strength). Our work has shaped international guidance and attracted over £10 million in funding for further osteoporosis research.

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Investigating the resistance to antibiotics
New antibiotic prescribing strategies

Reducing the threat of resistance to antibiotics

University of Southampton research has notably contributed to reducing the global threat of antibiotic resistance. A series of conventional and novel trials has influenced important clinical guidelines for Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs) and new prescribing strategies, with the US and EU following suit. As a direct result of our work, delayed prescribing of antibiotics for acute respiratory infections is now an everyday tool for UK GPs.

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researchers have transformed ophthalmic research by discovering novel genes for complex diseases
Genetic investigation of AMD

Saving millions in sight and money

University of Southampton researchers have transformed ophthalmic research by discovering novel genes for complex diseases such as AMD and glaucoma. Genetic tests are now available on the NHS and new treatment and disease prevention methods are in regular clinical use. Millions of people worldwide are set to benefit, with the application of our work saving sight as well as saving the NHS a potential £85million each year

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Imatinib
Targeted Imatinib therapy

Saving the lives of patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia

University of Southampton research into genetic characteristics of haematological malignancies has identified new disease subtypes and consequently saved patients’ lives. Our work has resulted in more precise diagnostic techniques used worldwide to detect specific molecular abnormalities and thereby target treatment more effectively. Methods to monitor treatment response using molecular criteria are now part of international guidelines.

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According to Asthma UK 5.2 million people receive treatment for asthma with 500,000 suffering severe symptoms
Targeting the causes of respiratory disease

Tackling respiratory diseases costing the UK £ billions

University of Southampton research has led to major advances in the understanding of respiratory diseases for which the lack of available treatments had global health repercussions. The formation of a spin-out company enabled the discovery and development of new therapeutics that are key to tackling conditions affecting millions in the UK alone and which cost the NHS billions each year.

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Our research has transformed control and survival prospects for severe allergic asthmatics
Pioneering asthma research

Transforming asthma control and survival

Research at the University of Southampton has been central to the development and international licensing of the therapy omalizumab, one of only two novel asthma therapies in the last 30 years, transforming asthma control and survival for severe allergic asthmatics. Key studies have underpinned the development of this vital therapy for controlling allergic asthma, with the Southampton-led first-in-man trials critical to its registration.

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Nano-bioengineering and stem cells are being used to transform treatments for bone disease and fractures
Fabricating surfaces for stem cells

Transforming people's lives through bone stem cell therapy

University of Southampton researchers have developed a unique approach linking nano-bioengineering and stem cell research which could transform treatment for 4,000 UK patients each year and reduce a huge cost burden on the NHS. Seven patients with avascular necrosis of the femoral head and bone cysts have been successfully treated with bone stem cell therapy resulting in a better quality of life.

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Pre-pregnancy diet quality is the strongest predictor of an infant’s diet quality
Investigating life long health

Transforming the medical approach to obesity

The University of Southampton’s lifecourse studies on populations of people (cohort studies) have led to a transformation in the medical approach to obesity and non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Our research has directly influenced international healthcare policy and delivered health benefits for tens of thousands of people.

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