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Southampton Health Technology Assessments CentreNews

SHTAC has been awarded funding for two new major projects: Education for preventing catheter-related critical care infections and Ablative therapies for liver metastases

Published: 12 February 2011
Liver cancer

Research has begun on two NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme funded projects. One is examining the clinical and cost effectiveness of educational interventions for preventing catheter-related blood-stream infections in critical care. The other aims to determine the costs and benefits of ablative therapies for liver metastases (secondary cancers) in people with cancer.

Preventing catheter-related critical care infections

Vascular catheters are a major source of bloodstream infections in critical care patients in the UK. Such infections increase patients' length of stay in hospital and have been estimated to cost the NHS between £19 and £36 million each year. These infections are thought to be largely preventable if critical care staff follow best hygienic practices. Various different educational interventions to ensure that critical care doctors and nurses follow appropriate hygiene practices have been trialled, with promising results. However, the trials have not been critically appraised and their relevance to UK practice is unclear. To assist the NHS, SHTAC has been awarded an 18-month contract by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme to assess the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of educational interventions for preventing catheter-related bloodstream infections in critical care patients.

Further details can be found on the HTA website.

 

Ablative therapies for liver metastases

SHTAC is embarking on a new collaborative project on the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of ablative therapies in the management of liver metastases (secondary cancers that have spread from other areas of the body).  Until recently the chances of survival of a person with liver metastases were poor, with few treatment options available. The most effective treatment has been to remove the liver metastases surgically, but only a minority of people with liver metastases can undergo the procedure. New non-surgical options have been developed that appear to provide an alternative for people with liver metastases. These new approaches focus on removing the metastases either through burning the cancer by heating it through different methods (radiofrequency electricity, microwaves, lasers or ultrasound), freezing it using cold liquids or through injecting ethanol.

Working with experts from Southampton, Liverpool, Surrey and Amsterdam, SHTAC will assess evidence for the different forms of ablative therapy to determine which is the most effective method for removing liver metastases, and which provides best value for money. Funding for this research has been awarded by the NIHR HTA programme and further details can be found on the HTA website.

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