Saving newborns' lives through research
“Never a day passes that I do not remember how incredibly fortunate we are that my son survived a severe case of NEC shortly after his premature birth. So much about this potentially fatal disease remains a mystery, and CW+’s research is critical to help protect this most vulnerable group of newborns by attempting to prevent NEC before it occurs as well as minimise its impact.” Catherine, mother of Edward who suffered from NEC.
The biggest killer on Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit is an appalling condition called Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC).
Leading neonatologist Dr Enitan Ogundipe and her team are looking to pioneer research into treating, and eventually preventing NEC.
What is NEC?
NEC is like gangrene of the gut. Babies with NEC cannot absorb nutrients or tolerate normal feeding and eventually, if left unchecked, the NEC will cause their gut to wither and die.
NEC is the second commonest cause of death in NICUs in the developed world. Babies with NEC have more chance of developing blood infection and gut dysfunction. Babies with surgically-treated NEC have poorer brain development than medically-treated babies.
Treatment and post-surgery rehabilitation may take many months. The impact of this physical and psychological trauma on the baby and its parents can be devastating.
What Can We Do?
We are planning two groundbreaking research studies:
1) Using fatty acids to treat NEC: we will investigate whether the use of fatty acid supplemented feed will (i) improve feed tolerance, (ii) improve gut health, (iii) reduce sepsis rates, liver dysfunction and hospital stay, and (iv) reduce NEC-related impaired brain development.
2) Predicting and preventing NEC: we want to know whether mothers’ lipid profiles and immune markers are predictive of babies developing NEC. We will determine whether supplementing such high risk babies’ feed with fatty acids would reduce the risk of the babies developing NEC.
We have raised over £320,000 so far. We need £160,000 more to make the first phase of this life saving and life changing research happen.
Click here to read Catherine's story about her son Edward's fight with NEC.
Read why Ruby's family are fundraising to support our NEC research here.
Read about three of our amazing NEC fundraisers here.
With thanks to our NEC Committee:
Brian & Angela Henderson
Andrew & Aga McDaniel
Exclusive shopping evening at Boodles jewellers
Join us on Thursday 10th November for an exclusive and special shopping evening at Boodles jewellers on Bond Street, raising money for our NEC research.
Click here to find out more.