Burns and plastics

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) Burns Centre is one of the country’s leading facilities for burn research and treatment and is home to The Healing Foundation Birmingham Burn Injury Research Centre.

The hospital is the regional burns centre, receiving the most serious burns cases from across the West Midlands.

The hospital also works closely with Birmingham Children’s Hospital, providing all of its paediatric burns services.

UHB has a burns high-dependency unit, which can be used to maintain high humidity and temperatures for seriously burned patients.

The centre is at the heart of the new Healing Foundation UK Centre for Burns Research, based at UHB and involving Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, the University of Birmingham and University College London (UCL).

Under the leadership of Mr Naiem Moiemen, the centre is active in a range of research areas, including the development of new polymer-based skin replacements, face and hand transplantation, and trailing new drugs to neutralise chemical burns.

The centre is looking at taking burns treatment and rehabilitation to a new level, including the use of nanotechnology to create a polymer-based skin substitute. Work on this concept is still at the laboratory stage, and involves world-renowned nanotechnologist Professor Alex Seifalian at UCL.

Basic science research

Research is underway with the University of Birmingham to better understand how the body responds to burns, looking at the response of the immune and endocrine systems, as well as the role of cytokines.

The work, is led by Professor Janet Lord at the university, Mr Moiemen at UHB and Surgeon Captain Mark Midwinter of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.

They are aiming to establish whether new drugs can be developed and whether existing drugs used to regulate metabolic processes in the elderly can be adapted to treat burns patients.

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