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Past Winners

Past Winners

K-ink Inhaler - Low Cost Breath Activated Inhaler

Mr John Bell & his team

Winners of the BUPA & Grant Thornton Awards for Patient Care and Business

Asthma sufferers have more than doubled in the last 20 years and now number roughly one in every 14 people. The pressurised inhaler is easily the most popular device in current treatments - familiar, portable and robust; however, asthmatics have serious problems using these correctly. When first generation breath-activated pressurised inhalers hit the market we thought the problem was solved but they are very expensive and so are rarely prescribed.

A revolutionary new device has been developed by a team from Leicestershire that is based on a simple principle, kinking a tube – like your garden hose – to control liquid flow, and allows asthmatics to get their drugs at less than 10% of the current device cost.

Lens Free Ophthalmoscope

Roger Armour, Retired NHS General Surgeon

Overall Winner & Winner of the Best Innovation to Improve Global Health

Roger´s story began more than forty years ago when, as a medical student in Pakistan, he was unable to afford an ophthalmoscope - a device that is used to examine the back of the eye to diagnose high blood pressure, diabetes and strokes. Although he had ideas of how to greatly simplify the instrument, making it affordable to all, like most inventors, he had no idea of how to develop his idea.

After his retirement from the NHS in 2001, a visit to Africa and seeing a child blinded by a preventable eye disease, spurred Roger on to making a prototype. "It took me six months to work out what to do. I then got some material from an art shop and made one. It looked such as mess I was certain it wouldn´t work." He tried it anyway - first on his wife. "To my amazement I could see the retinal vessels in her fundus. And then I examined the cat...

Winning a Medical Futures Award catalysed Roger to turn the concept into a real product, called the OptyseTM, a pocket sized, lens-free ophthalmoscope that sells for half the price of a conventional instrument. Following his win of a Medical Futures Award, Sir Richard Sykes likened the OptyseTM to "the wind up radio of healthcare" which has the potential to save millions of people´s sight worldwide.

One Stop Diabetes Screening & Education

Jacqueline Jones, Diabetes Specialist Nurse

Winner of the Pfizer Award for Best Educational Innovation

Effective diabetes management is best achieved by a partnership between the health professional and an empowered patient but all too often such partnerships fail to materialise. Fed up with the situation, a resourceful and energetic Diabetes Specialist Nurse has set up a screening centre in her local church hall, for vision testing and problems relating to diabetes using a computer link to her surgery.

She since has ran a rolling programme of workshops promoting self care, healthy lifestyle and complication prevention involving dieticians, podiatrists, exercise physiologists and of course herself.

Growing Bone Prosthesis

Mr Steven Cannon & Mr Tim Briggs, Orthopaedic Surgeons

Winner of the BUPA Award to Improve Child Health

Fortunately bone cancers in children are rare. But when they do happen they require drastic surgery. In the past this may have involved amputation, but then prosthetic replacements enabled limbs to be saved. However, because the prosthesis doesn't grow, the child would usually be subjected to further operations to lengthen the prosthesis to equal the length of the opposite limb, with all the risks that go with surgery including infection.

Surgeons from a leading orthopaedic centre have now developed a prosthesis, already tried in three patients, that can be lengthened remotely mimicking natural growth of the bone without the need for further painful and risky surgery.

Suture-Button Ankle Repair

Brian Thornes, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Ireland

Winner of the Johnson & Johnson Award for Best Medical Device

Anyone who has ever broken their ankle will understand the importance of getting the treatment right first time in order to get back to full fitness as quickly as possible, particularly when surgery is required to reconstruct damaged ligaments - as West Ham and Northern Ireland International, Steve Lomas, found out when told he would be out of action for months following failed surgery on his ankle.

The ankle syndesmosis “TightRope™” fixation system, is a revolutionary new system to allow the ankle ligaments to be reconstructed without the use of metalwork. His device has since been successfully licensed to an Orthopaedic Products Company and was recently used on Chicago Bears’ quarterback, Rex Grossman.

Hope of a Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease

Professor Steven Rose, Open University

Winner of the Lilly-BI Award for Best Mental Health Innovation

New research by a team from the Open University has discovered what they believe to be the biochemical basis for memory loss in Alzheimer's Disease, which affects nearly a million people in the UK alone.

They have identified a small molecule which they claim restores the lost memory and acts as a cognitive enhancer and neuroprotector in laboratory animals. The University has filed patents around their idea which they hope to turn into a new drug to treat early stage Alzheimer's Disease.


David Becker, Lecturer, London

Winner of the Nomura Award for Best Biotech Innovation

An estimated 95 million people worldwide suffer from wounds. While acute wounds heal uneventfully, chronic wounds such as ulcers do not and often persist for months or years. In the case of the elderly, this increases average hospital stays by at least one week, resulting in an additional $1.5 billion in healthcare costs in the USA alone.

A team from London, in collaboration with Auckland University, have developed a revolutionary new technology which inhibits a novel target in wound healing, a gap junction channel protein. The product, applied topically in a gel dramatically accelerates wound healing and reduces inflammation and scarring.

Dr Dan & His Animated Friends

Eoin O'Sullivan, Veronica Kinsler & Team

Winner of the Orange Award for Best Health Communication Innovation

First there was Postman Pat, then Bob the Builder and who better to educate young children than their fantasy friend? But who teaches toddlers about medical matters, like going to visit the doctor, having an injection or the arrival of a new baby? The answer is Doctor Dan. Dreamed up by a team of parents (who happen to be doctors themselves) around their boisterous 3-4 year old boys. They have developed a range of engaging characters such as Beep the Thermometer who blushes red when someone is not well, Wink the Eye Chart who winks at everyone as they walk through the door, and Sally Stethoscope, Dr Dan's right hand instrument.

The story lines have been produced to ensure high entertainment value to the under 7's, although each story also carries an important message. Just imagine how easy it will be to apply your two year old's sunblock when Dr Dan is on the bottle!

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