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DMU receives £20,000 award for Vivo3D project

De Montfort University’s (DMU’s) Faculty of Health and Life Sciences has recently received an award of £20,000 from the Edith Murphy Foundation to establish Vivo3D: an imaging project that will help teenagers and young people in Leicestershire and the East Midlands diagnosed with cancer to understand and cope with their condition.

Every year approximately 2,400 young people aged 13-24 are diagnosed with cancer in the UK. This disease accounts for 9% of male and 15% of female deaths annually and is the leading cause of death from illness in the country.  Difficult to accept at any age, a diagnosis of cancer for young people on the brink of adult life, when already going through changes to their own physical and emotional development, can be particularly horrendous. Survival rates are relatively high at around 84%; however the diagnosis can be very difficult to come to terms with.

The shock of having cancer is just the start; teenagers must also deal with the trauma of treatment, which can last many years, and is particularly disruptive to their education and experiences at school, college, university and work.

In an effort to assist young people to come to terms with their diagnosis, DMU’s Vivo3D project will look at the effectiveness of offering patients a personalised 3D printed representation of their own tumour to help them to understand their diagnosis and communicate with their consultant clinician, their peers and family members.


The funding received by DMU will help fund the start-up costs to deliver this project.  The Vivo3D team will be able to purchase the necessary equipment (the 3D printer, digital recorder) and consumables for use by the Teenagers and Young Adults (TYA) service at the Queens Medical Centre and Leicester Royal Infirmary.

DMU is uniquely placed to work collaboratively with our partner organisations, and to utilise our academic expertise to deliver this programme in Leicester.

Dr Lynn Furber has over 20 years’ experience as an oncology nurse. Her research aspires to improve communications and the exchange of information between patients diagnosed with cancer and their healthcare providers (predominantly oncologists), and has previously held research grants from the NIHR (Research for Patient Benefit) and the Hope Against Cancer Trust. Lynn is an Associate Professor, teaching nursing students about cancer, chemotherapy, research and consultation skills and undertakes research in her field of expertise. Also involved in the project are Dr Lionel T Dean (Digital Manufacturing Research and Practice), Dr Helene Mitchell (Health Psychology Researcher), Dr Mhairi Morris (Cancer Researcher) and Joanne Poole (Teenage Cancer Trust Lead Nurse).

It is expected that the Vivo3Dproject will help TYA patients to develop coping strategies, improve their understanding of cancer (and that of their wider family and peers), as well as the wider educational effect that will come from any planned public engagement activities through DMU Square Mile. These project outcomes will have a strong regional impact and help to improve the services offered to young cancer patients. The results will allow the team to formally evaluate the model’s impact on communication strategies, both for the patient and for healthcare professionals, as well as on patient quality of life. This pilot study will also establish the feasibility of a large-scale roll-out of the model, both regionally and nationally.

The Edith Murphy Foundation is named after local business woman and philanthropist Edith Murphy (1916 - 2005), who donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to support medical research and charitable organisations. Edith established the Foundation in 1993 in memory of her husband Hugh. Since its inception, it has distributed several million pounds for charitable causes.

Posted on Friday 28th July 2017

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