Smiles With Grace will be the sole supporter of Great Ormond Street Hospital’s study into the rare, birth defect, encephalocele, with a £74,261 investment.
Grace’s Neurosurgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), Dominic Thompson, and Professor Andy Copp at The Institute for Children’s Health will collaborate to conduct the ground-breaking, two-year project: ‘Encephalocele: a combined experimental and clinical study of its development and prevention’.
Encephalocele is a serious neural tube defect in which part of the brain develops outside the skull, and often becomes damaged, which can lead to disability or death.
Neural tube defects affect around one in every 1,000 UK pregnancies. A tenth of those turn out to be encephalocele.
The research aims to investigate the causes of the defect, “in order to pave the way towards future introduction of fetal surgery for encephalocele in the coming years”.
Thompson, Copp and their team at GOSH, will study a “new human-like mouse model” of the defect to understand how and when it appears, as well as testing whether taking folic acid during pregnancy is a preventative measure.
The research will also include a clinical study, analysing cases of encephalocele at GOSH, determining the brain region affected, its severity and the outcomes of their treatment.
The £74,261 investment will be put towards research costs and employing additional staff for the project – Dawn Savery, Research Assistant at the Institute of Child Health and Vejay Vakharia, Neurosurgical Fellow at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Click here to read more about the study.