Earlier this year BDRF awarded our latest Travelling Research Fellowship – a grant of up to £5,000 for a new consultant to develop links with medical centres outside the UK and promote collaborative research.

The winner was Mrs Julie Cornish, a colorectal surgeon based in Cardiff. Julie will work with the Amsterdam Medical Centre (AMC) to look at variations in the use of ileostomy across Europe in the treatment of rectal cancer.

Having a temporary ileostomy is a big event for many patients having rectal cancer surgery. There is a lot of uncertainty around the best time to close the stoma and quite big variations in practice. Naturally, we want to make sure they have the best experience and outcome possible. Julie is currently head of the CLOSE-IT study which seeks to resolve some of these questions in a UK setting – but the team felt the work would be strengthened by collaboration with centres in Europe. Our grants panel agreed – and so Julie will now undertake a programme of work in collaboration with the AMC, looking at data from a Dutch snapshot audit of the same issue and understanding how this can be fed in to the CLOSE-IT work.

Having been awarded the grant, Julie said: “I am really pleased to have been awarded the BDRF grant. This will allow me to travel to work with colleagues in the Netherlands who have a different perspective on the formation of ileostomies and timing of reversal following rectal cancer surgery, to many surgeons in the UK. It will allow us to assess patient care pathways and see where improvements can be made.”

We too are extremely excited for the results of the study and delighted to be helping broaden its horizons beyond the UK. It is clear that through combining efforts and knowledge with centres of excellence around the world, we can do better research and improve more lives!

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