We strive to understand how things work so we can make the world a better place.
New drug combination could slow breast cancer
Breast cancer patients could soon benefit from a new combination of treatments devised by researchers at the University.
Dr Ingunn Holen and Dr Penelope Ottewell of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, carried out a unique study to determine the effects of combining the chemotherapy agent doxorubicin and the bone-protecting drug zoledronic acid.
Both drugs are already used in the NHS, but they have never been combined in this way to fight breast cancer. Early studies on mice showed that the combination can reduce tumours almost totally - by up to 99.9 per cent.
If the findings are confirmed by a large scale trial, the treatment could be made available quickly and relatively cheaply. It could improve the chances of survival for thousands of women.
New hope for children with brittle bones
Two generations of Sheffield graduates have teamed up to create a special walking frame for children with brittle bones.
Normal walking frames are too big for small children with the disease so they don’t make the progress they should. The new frame is designed to help them learn to walk earlier.
Engineering postgrads Barry Tan and Lim Ji Hui designed the frame in their spare time, after meeting with staff at Sheffield Children´s Hospital.
Once they had the right design, Barry and Lim needed someone to manufacture a prototype.
Nigel Harrison, who graduated in 1984, is now managing director of Sheffield-based Kingkraft, specialists in products for disabled people. He jumped at the chance to help students at his old university and made the walker for free.
The hospital are delighted. They are now seeking funding to have more frames manufactured so children with brittle bones can get the help they need.
Improving lives in the developing world
A team of researchers at the University are developing crops that are resistant to one of Africa's most devastating parasites.
Witchweed infests about 40 per cent or crops in sub-Saharan Africa, threatening the livelihoods of some of the world's poorest farmers.
The Sheffield team, led by Professor Julie Scholes, is trying to understand the genetic basis of plants that are resistant to witchweed so that those genes can be transferred to the threatened crops.
Their aim is to improve the lives of millions of people who rely on crops such as maize and rice. Julie's team will conduct trials on farmland in Tanzania later this year.
The project is part of a £7million international initiative to meet the challenge of food stability in developing countries.