Research

Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust is delighted to be supporting this exciting research project :Near Infrared Autofluorescence of the Parathyroid Glands: A Novel Method for Reducing the Incidence of Permanent Hypoparathyroidism Following Total Thyroidectomy for Thyroid Cancer.
Aimee N. di Marco, Neil S. Tolley, F. Fausto Palazzo

A low level of calcium in the blood (‘hypocalcaemia’) affects up to a quarter of patients following surgery for thyroid cancer. It results when the blood supply to the very tiny parathyroid glands (attached to the thyroid) is affected during surgery. If the parathyroid function does not recover it may require lifelong treatment with calcium and vitamin D. This ‘hypoparathyroidism’ may significantly affect patients’ quality of life due to the need for medication, monitoring and in the long term it may potentially cause problems with kidney function, neurological complications and infections.

The aim of this project is to see if it is possible to exploit a natural property of parathyroid tissue, ‘autofluorescence’, to prevent hypoparathyroidism. Until now, surgeons have had to rely entirely on their experience in the identification of the parathyroid glands and their judgment as to whether their blood supply is sufficient to function normally. In this study, Mr. Palazzo, Professor Tolley and team will be using the ‘Fluobeam 800’ (a near-infrared camera which detects autofluorescence) to check for unrecognized parathyroids on the thyroid gland during surgery and see whether this allows more parathyroid glands to be preserved in situ or, if they do not have a good enough blood supply, allow them to be transplanted into the neck muscle (‘autotransplantation’).

The team is very grateful to the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust for the support which is enabling them to carry out this study: they hope that this work will provide a valuable insight into the effectiveness of this exciting new technology and translate into direct benefit to patients undergoing surgery for thyroid cancer.

June 2016 – Butterfly is pleased to support Dr Glenn Flux and team in their new research : “Investigation of the role of protein bound iodine in radio iodine treatment of thyroid cancer: a sub study of the SELIMETRY trial”, which will examine if there is a correlation between the protein bound iodine measurements and the absorbed doses delivered, and if there is a correlation between the protein bound iodine measurements and treatment outcome. Research will be carried out over 4 years and 60 patients will be recruited into the trial.

James Salter Research Grant 2015 winner

Butterfly is delighted to announce that the James Salter Research Grant Award 2015 has gone to Dr Kate Newbold from the Royal Marsden. Dr Newbold says :

We are delighted to hear that the Butterfly Trust has chosen to support our research study investigating novel biomarkers in thyroid cancer. The aim of this project is to gain a better understanding of the natural history of thyroid cancer with a hope that this will enable us to detect at an earlier stage and with more accuracy when the cancer recurs or progresses. Now that we are in an era of targeted therapies we hope to be able to identify the mutations occurring in tumours with the goal to tailor treatments to an individual patient’s cancer. We hope that this will lead to improved control of disease whilst minimising toxicities of therapies by avoiding drugs or interventions that are unlikely to work for particular tumours.

The Butterfly Trust provides such a valuable service to individual patients but also to the wider thyroid cancer community by raising awareness of this rare, but increasingly frequent, cancer. We are therefore thrilled and proud to be able to start this exciting collaboration with Butterfly.

BTCT is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Non-Commercial Partner

Appropriate research studies funded through BTCT’S s Research Fund are now automatically eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) support and therefore entitled to:

  • Use of the NIHR Coordinated System for gaining NHS Permissions (NIHR CSP) which is accessed via the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS)
  • Access NHS support via the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

Please note that to be eligible for NIHR CRN support any research study we fund must also meet the standard study eligibility criteria, namely that it:

  • Requires NHS Research Ethics Committee approval and NHS permission
  • Is a discrete structured research project with an appropriate study protocol
  • Is of clear value to the NHS
  • Involves NHS patients, staff, premises, facilities or resources

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