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Using research to develop new diagnostic tools for PCD

Dr Amelia Shoemark, senior clinical scientist in Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) has been awarded an NIHR Healthcare Science Post Doctoral Fellowship for her work investigating “New diagnostic tools for Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia”. 

PCD is an inherited condition where cilia, which are tiny moving structures that line the airways, ears, sinuses are unable to function. Without the sweeping, wave-like motion of cilia the body is unable to keep these areas clean and free from infection so people with PCD are unable to protect their respiratory system.

PCD is diagnosed by the examination of cells under a powerful electron microscope but in 30% of people with symptoms of PCD the cells look normal. 

The study will test new more powerful microscopy methods, electron tomography and immunofluorescence techniques, to investigate the appearance of the cilia and help to better diagnose the disease. If successful the project will lead to the integration of these techniques into the UK NHS diagnostic service for PCD, improving the diagnosis pathway for these patients. 

Dr Claire Hogg, Trust PCD lead said ‘The NIHR in supporting Amelia is recognising the potential of her work in improving the accuracy and efficiency of diagnosis in complex cases of PCD’. 

January 2014 

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