The impact of RAFT’s research programmes is far reaching
For nearly three decades we have been undertaking pioneering scientific research that has changed the face of healthcare the world over. In fact, our work has saved lives, improved treatment, speeded up recovery times, influenced healthcare policy and changed laws.
Thanks to our donors’ support, the work undertaken by RAFT has surpassed even our founders’ most ambitious dreams. Today more than 100 of our projects are in use in hospitals and clinics throughout the world. Here are just some of our achievements:
- Advanced the management and prevention of pressure sores in hospitals by developing mattress testing technology which has been adopted as an International Standard testing method.
- Improved surgical outcomes for children with cleft lip and palate by developing the use of 3D laser scanning to analyse facial features and facilitate more accurate planning of operations.
- Developed surgical techniques which have enhanced the lives of patients suffering from facial palsy.
- Pioneered the use of a ruby laser for hair removal, for treatment of patients affected by excessive hair growth (Hirsutism)
- Provided evidence that birth trauma is not the primary cause of permanent congenital facial palsy, and that brain structure is a more common cause than was previously thought.
- Published research on Dupytrens contracture (a condition which causes one or more fingers to bend into the palm of the hand) which helped to promote less aggressive surgical techniques and resulted in better patient outcomes.
- Published research findings which were recognised by the Pharmaceutical industry as being significant for the future of cancer treatments. RAFT researchers demonstrated that using antisense to block the expression of the c-myc gene can improve chemotherapy results for patients.
- Demonstrated that certain forms of Basal Cell Carcinoma; a type of skin cancer, can be removed effectively using a vaporisation laser- a quicker and easier method than surgery.
- Conducted research on skin cancer prevention which has had a wide impact globally:
- Developed a method for testing sunscreen protection which forms the backbone of the current commercial testing method
- Demonstrated that UVA is more harmful than previously believed and that sunscreens were providing only limited protection from it
- Contributed to major changes in EU and US legislation on sunscreen labelling and advertisement, and to UK laws regarding the use of sunbeds
- Raised public awareness of the risks associated with exposure to UV radiation and the most effective methods of protection
- Developed the model for teaching patients how to self examine for skin cancer which is now part of the UK guidelines on melanoma care
- Identified early signs of life threatening toxic shock syndrome in children who have suffered burns. These early signs, which should trigger vital pre-onset treatment of the condition, have since been sited in recommendations to clinicians.
RAFT patron Ferrial Syed pictured with her Mum as a child after being discharged from Northwood Hospital, where she received pioneering treatment for third degree burns following an accident. Ferrial says that without RAFT’s life-saving research she wouldn’t be here today.
We have published hundreds of medical papers, received numerous awards and have received recognition from the scientific community for our contributions to research. However, what is most important to us is the people we aim to support.
Scientific research is the tool that we use to make people’s lives better.
But despite our success, today, our research is needed more than ever before. Find out more about our current research projects