The biology of dying
My main research interests include the biology of dying and the development of a test to recognise the last weeks and days of life. The research group includes collaborations with Prof Chris Probert and Prof Mark Boyd.
We have achieved a number of important milestones in the Biology of Dying area including;
- Publication of a systematic review of biomarkers of dying in cancer patients in the last months of life with an exploration of the biology of dying
- Publication of the first study to prospectively collect urine samples from people in the last weeks of life
- Development of a novel freeze drying extraction technique that increased the number of identifiable VOCs for analysis by GC-MS.
- Publication of a methods paper describing and comparing different methods for the analysis of volatile organic compounds in urine.
- Completion of a feasibility study that recruited 20 inpatients people at a hospice and collected urine from 12 people in the last month of life.
- Demonstration by metabolomic analyses that volatile organic compounds in urine change in the last weeks of life
- Awarded a Wellcome Trust Seed award in Science based on our findings
- Completion of a Pilot study collecting urine from 25 people with lung cancer in each of the last 3 weeks of life. In total 175 people were recruited; 30 in the last week, 26 in the second last week and 30 in the third last week of life.
- Verification that urinary volatile organic compounds predict the last days and weeks of life in people with lung cancer
Hypomagnesaemia and pain
Author of a case report describing the analgesic benefit of treating hypomagnesaemia.
A national grant has been submitted to perform a case series to investigate this further.