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Research to reduce side effects of treatments for major diseases receives £300,000 prize from IET

29 January 2015


A world expert in biomedical engineering has been awarded a prestigious international prize from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Professor Eleanor Stride from the University of Oxford has today been announced as the winner of the £300,000 IET A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize. She was chosen due to her outstanding contributions to biomedical engineering and her research into the treatment of major diseases. In winning the prize she was chosen from high calibre candidates from across the world to be awarded the prize.

Professor Stride’s ‘targeted drug delivery’ research concerns the treatment of major diseases such as cancer and stroke, where there is a pressing need to target drugs to specific parts of the body in order to minimise exposure of healthy tissue. The key motivation is to reduce serious side effects and increase the number of patients eligible for treatment.

A promising approach to this challenge is to encapsulate drugs within a carrier particle that can be transported to a target site in the body and then activated to release the drug in a highly localised manner. But for this approach to be effective, it is essential to be able to manufacture particles with a very high degree of control. The £300,000 IET A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize will be used to further this research.

Professor Stride said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been awarded the IET A F Harvey Prize. We are tremendously excited by the recent discoveries our team has made in fabricating microparticles that can be activated by ultrasound for controlled drug release and the prize will enable us to develop this research into usable technology for the delivery of chemotherapy.”

Sir John O’Reilly, Chair of the IET’s Selection Committee for the Prize, said:  “Professor Stride’s research in drug delivery and biomedical ultrasonics is an excellent example of the innovation that can be achieved from the cross-fertilisation of engineering and biomedical sciences.

“Targeted drug delivery is a ‘hot topic’ for contemporary research, as it has the potential to significantly improve treatment for many life-threatening diseases, particularly cancer. Prof Stride’s ongoing research is likely to have huge societal benefits and important implications for society and the healthcare industry.”

Professor Stride will give a talk about her research at the IET A F Harvey Prize Lecture on 21 May 2015 at the Royal Society of Medicine in central London. For more information, please visit www.theiet.org/harvey.

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7738 602426
Email: HKellett@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • About the IET A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize: The award, worth £300,000, is named after Dr A F Harvey who bequeathed a generous sum of money to the IET for a trust fund to be set up in his name after his death.  The terms of the trust specify that the money is to be used for the furtherance of scientific research into the fields of medical, microwave, laser or radar engineering.  The award was first made in 2011 (this is the fourth time the award has been made).
  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with nearly 160,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most multidisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.