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Essex Biomedical Sciences Institute. Health, Disease and Survival The Essex Biomedical Sciences Institute. Dr Beverley Wilkinson Department of Biological Sciences University of Essex. Essex Biomedical Sciences Institute. Health in the Headlines. ‘Jade Goody has Cervical Cancer’.

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Essex Biomedical

Sciences Institute

Health, Disease and Survival

The Essex Biomedical Sciences Institute

Dr Beverley Wilkinson

Department of Biological Sciences

University of Essex


Essex Biomedical

Sciences Institute

Health in the Headlines

‘Jade Goody has Cervical Cancer’

‘Patrick Swayze dies of pancreatic cancer aged 57’

‘Obese children show signs of heart disease’

‘Obesity-related heart disease ‘will increase considerably’ by 2020’

‘Sara Payne Paralysed after stroke’

‘My battle with Alzheimer’s, by fantasy writer Terry Pratchett’


Essex Biomedical

Sciences Institute

World’s Biggest Killers

  • The global burden of disease is shifting from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases
  • Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke are the three leading causes of death today
  • An ageing population will push the numbers of people suffering dementia up significantly in coming years

Essex Biomedical

Sciences Institute

But there is hope……

‘Scientists come up with an electronic sticking plaster to treat skin cancer’

‘Immune therapy Alzheimer's hope’

‘Stem cells could save stroke victims’

‘Cancer cell study breakthrough ‘

‘Wonder drug hope for heart patients’

‘Personalised cancer blood test hope’

‘Cancer patient cured with his own immune system’


Essex Biomedical

Sciences Institute

Essex Biomedical Sciences Institute (EBSI)

  • Who are we?
  • Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex
  • University scientists and clinicians from hospital trusts
  • What do we do?
  • Patient-focused, biomedical and health related research
  • Working to discover new therapies and interventions that improve health and increase our chances of survival:
      • Artificial Blood
      • Alzheimer’s Disease
      • Cancer
      • Cardiac rehabilitation
      • Childhood Obesity
      • Heart Disease
      • Infectious Diseases

Essex Biomedical

Sciences Institute

EBSI in the Headlines

‘Fewer than half of children now get enough physical activity to produce health benefits’

‘Scientists Make Important Discovery in Gene Regulation’

‘Paracetamol protects against kidney failure after muscle injury’

‘True Blood is a Breakthrough for Uni’

‘Reports outline cancer study findings from University of Essex’

‘Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Affluent Children Examined’

‘British children’s fitness levels falling twice as fast as international average’'

‘Scientists' breakthrough for breast cancer care’


Essex Biomedical

Sciences Institute

EBSI - Selected Studies

  • Dementia
  • Childhood Obesity and Heart Disease
  • Biomarkers of Breast Cancer
  • Artificial Blood

Essex Biomedical

Sciences Institute

Dementia - Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Dementia is characterised by an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities.
  • Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia.
  • One of the hallmarks is the build up of ‘amyloid’ proteins into ‘plaques’ between nerve cells in the brain.
  • These amyloid plaques contribute to nerve
  • cell damage in the brain.
  • Currently no drug therapies exist to control
  • the formation of amyloid plaques.

Essex Biomedical

Sciences Institute

Childhood Obesity and Heart Disease

  • Childhood obesity linked to an increased risk for heart disease in later life.
  • EBSI is tackling childhood obesity by developing new ways to monitor and test children’s fitness.
  • The East of England Healthy Hearts Study looks at levels of fitness in local children.
  • Child fitness levels are declining.
  • "The measurement of obesity alone may not be sufficient to keep an eye on children's future health. We need some form of monitoring of fitness”
  • Dr Gavin Sandercock (Lead Researcher)

Essex Biomedical

Sciences Institute

Biomarkers of Breast Cancer

Cancer Biomarkers

  • Breast cancer is one of the most common diseases
  • in the Western world
  • Cancer biomarkers - molecules found only in cancer cells
  • Used for diagnostic purposes to detect cancer cells. Cells carrying this marker can be targeted and destroyed
  • EBSI researchers have discovered that a protein called BORIS, found in blood cells of breast cancer patients, has good potential to be an early biomarker of breast cancer

BORIS in breast tumour tissue


Essex Biomedical

Sciences Institute

Artificial Blood

  • Must have a long shelf life and be free of viruses
  • Designing safe products is difficult because haemoglobin is toxic outside the red blood cell
  • EBSI Researchers have created an engineered form of haemoglobin that is less toxic
  • ‘There is a ticking time bomb with blood supplies. Partly it is due to an ageing population. There will be fewer people who can give blood , but more people who need it’ Professor Chris Cooper

Essex Biomedical

Sciences Institute

Future Benefits

  • It is hoped that these studies will eventually leadto real patient benefits:
    • improvements in health
    • new therapies/interventions
    • greater rates of patient survival
  • Further information on our fundraising activities:
  • Dr. Beverley Wilkinson (

Essex Biomedical Sciences Institute website: