RAFT aims to push back the boundaries of research, using the very latest technology and pioneering new techniques and treatments to deliver results to patients as quickly as possible – usually within seven years!
Keloid Scar Project
In affected individuals, keloid scars (or keloids) form at the site of skin trauma (e.g. surgery, body piercing or any injury) and aggressively outgrow the original boundaries of the wound, invading surrounding skin. Keloids are notoriously difficult to treat as often reoccur following surgical removal, at times worse than before. RAFT has estimated that as many as 1 in 300 people in the UK could suffer from a keloid. Affected individuals often have to live with itchiness, pain and discomfort. They may also experience social anxiety, low self-esteem and intimacy issues.
RAFT is developing a novel treatment which will be specifically designed to prevent the recurrence of the keloid after removal. This will transform the lives of keloid sufferers, and deliver cost savings to the NHS by decreasing the time spent on follow up and aftercare.
3D Printing for Facial Reconstruction Surgery
In the UK alone, approximately 60,000 craniofacial reconstruction surgeries – operations to repair the skull and jaw bones – are carried out each year. The procedures are needed as the result of trauma, such as road traffic accidents, surgery to remove tumours or to correct congenital anomalies for babies and children born with conditions such as cleft lip and palette.
Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy
An estimated 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK, around 40% of whom will undergo a mastectomy. Currently fewer than half the women in the UK who have a mastectomy chose to have breast reconstruction because of the unreliable outcomes of the surgery and the trauma of having to undergo multiple operations.
Severe bone defects and non-healing fractures caused by accident, disease or tumour removal are amongst the most debilitating injuries worldwide. Bone injury or deterioration can affect anyone as a result of accidents, cancer or disease, but older people face a significantly higher risk of degenerative bone disease and fractures which can often lead to permanent disability.
Chronic or hard-to-heal wounds are a big problem. It’s estimated that around 200,000 patients in the UK and 50m globally suffer from hard-to-heal wounds such as diabetic leg ulcers and pressure sores. Around 20 amputations are undertaken each day in the UK due to diabetic leg ulcers and other diabetic related complications. The increase in the incidence of diabetes together with an aging population, means the number of people affected in the UK and globally looks set to increase dramatically over the next 10 years.