Recent research at Leeds has proven that the use of appropriate shielding can reduce organ dose by up to 70%. Designed by Medical Physics staff at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the ShieldAll™ is a dedicated patient shielding device and provides a consistent level of radiation protection for patients of all shapes and sizes, from small children to large adults. ShieldAll™’s novel design means that, when the device is in use, the weight placed onto the patient is as low as possible whilst ensuring a high level of radiation protection. This lightweight design provides further significant benefits for staff, since moving and handling of heavy lead aprons is no longer needed.
The commercial potential of the product was realised during Clinical Scientist Gareth Iball’s year as a Yorkshire Enterprise Fellow. More than 60 researchers from regional universities and NHS Trusts have benefited from the Yorkshire Enterprise Fellowship (YEF) scheme, which provides business training and mentoring to increase commercial expertise within the academic community. The programme, which is funded by Yorkshire Forward and managed by business growth specialists, YTKO, supports projects in the healthcare, bioscience and chemical sectors. Mentoring support for Gareth’s project was provided by Dr Kathy Armour.
“The Fellowship scheme has given me the time, resources and training that I needed to bring ShieldAll™ from a prototype to a commercially available product.” said Gareth. “This could not have happened so quickly or with the backing of such strong scientific data without the Yorkshire Enterprise Fellowship. The whole experience has been the best of my career thus far!”
YTKO’s Dr Suzanne Emmett, YEF Director, commented: “The commercialisation of ShieldAll™ demonstrates the value of training programmes, such as the Yorkshire Enterprise Fellowship, working together with organisations such as Medipex Ltd, in helping research innovation to reach the market. Gareth received a YEF award for his dedication at the recent Gala Dinner and we are pleased to see this product on the market.”
Penny Dutton, the CT Superintendent Radiographer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said of the ShieldAll™: “This simple, innovative design, will significantly improve patient comfort during CT scans whilst optimising radiation reduction. For the Radiographers, to no longer need to manoeuvre traditional, heavy, lead coats will be a real plus point.”
Jim Farmery, Assistant Director of Business at Yorkshire Forward, said: “This is just one of the success stories that has come out of the Yorkshire Enterprise Fellowship and further proves the worth of this scheme.”
Recent press coverage of radiation dose issues related to CT scanning in the USA makes the development of ShieldAll™ very timely. The ShieldAll™ has the potential to save thousands of lives per year by reducing the risk of cancer induction arising from CT scans. From January 2010, ShieldAll™ can be purchased from Rothband Ltd, a leading UK manufacturer of radiation protection products.
The Yorkshire Enterprise Fellowship (YEF) is designed to help university researchers create a business based on their research. Building on the highly successful Bioscience Yorkshire Enterprise Fellowship scheme launched in 2004, this new initiative from Yorkshire Forward delivers practical support to commercialise ideas and research findings from the region’s Universities. Since its inception in 2004 BYEF/YEF has been a resounding success – resulting in 12 spin-out companies and over £7 million of leveraged funding for its diverse tech projects.