The latest list of publications from the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre with a brief summary.
If you are publishing research which has had funding and / or support from the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, please complete this form.View publication
Publication: International Journal of Epidemiology
09 July 2021
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are leading and closely interlinked global health challenges. The burdens of T2DM and CVD are especially high in South Asia, one of the most populous and the most densely populated regions of the world. Identification of the primary risk factors for T2DM and CVD is central to the development of effective approaches for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases such as T2DM and CVD. To address this important need, we have established a unique cross-sectional population-based study focused on the South Asian population: the South Asia Biobank (SAB).View publication
Publication: European Journal of Nutrition
Tuck Seng Cheng, Stephen J. Sharp, Soren Brage, Pauline M. Emmett, Nita G. Forouhi & Ken K. Ong
7 July 2021
Early puberty is associated with adverse health outcomes. To identify potential modifiable factors for puberty timing, we examined the associations of prepubertal childhood macronutrient intakes with puberty timing in boys and girls. The findings suggest habitual total energy intakes in children, and protein intakes in girls, as potential modifiable determinants of puberty timing.View publication
Publication: Journal of Nutrition
1 July 2021
Many nutrients have powerful immunomodulatory actions with the potential to alter susceptibility to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection, progression to symptoms, likelihood of severe disease, and survival. The aim was to review the latest evidence on how malnutrition across all its forms (under- and overnutrition and micronutrient status) may influence both susceptibility to, and progression of, COVID-19.View publication
Publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Irene Cimino, Hanna Kim, Y. C. Loraine Tung, Kent Pedersen, Debra Rimmington, John A. Tadross, Sara N. Kohnke, Ana Neves-Costa, André Barros, Stephanie Joaquim, Don Bennett, Audrey Melvin, Samuel M. Lockhart, Anthony J. Rostron, Jonathan Scott, Hui Liu, Keith Burling, Peter Barker, Menna R. Clatworthy, E-Chiang Lee,A. John Simpson, Giles S. H. Yeo, Luís F. Moita, Kendra K. Bence, Sebastian Beck Jørgensen, Anthony P. Coll, Danna M. Breen, and Stephen O’Rahilly
30 June 2021
Researchers have described a new way that the body senses damage and activates hormones in response to stressful situations – involving the protein GDF15View publication
Publication: Cell Reports
Bo Meng, Steven A. Kemp, Guido Papa, Rawlings Datir, Isabella A.T.M. Ferreira, Sara Marelli, William T. Harvey, Spyros Lytras, Ahmed Mohamed, Giulia Gallo, Nazia Thakur, Dami A. Collier, Petra Mlcochova
29 June 2021
One of the key mutations seen in the ‘Alpha variant’ of SARS-CoV-2 – the deletion of two amino acids, H69/V70 – enables the virus to overcome chinks in its armour as it evolves, say an international team of scientists.
SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus, so named because spike proteins on its surface give it the appearance of a crown (‘corona’). The spike proteins bind to ACE2, a protein receptor found on the surface of cells in our body. Both the spike protein and ACE2 are then cleaved, allowing genetic material from the virus to enter the host cell. The virus manipulates the host cell’s machinery to allow the virus to replicate and spread.
As SARS-CoV-2 divides and replicates, errors in its genetic makeup cause it to mutate. Some mutations make the virus more transmissible or more infectious, some help it evade the immune response, potentially making vaccines less effective, while others have little effect.
Towards the end of 2020, Cambridge scientists observed SARS-CoV-2 mutating in the case of an immunocompromised patient treated with convalescent plasma. In particular, they saw the emergence of a key mutation – the deletion of two amino acids, H69/V70, in the spike protein. This deletion was later found in B1.1.7, the variant that led to the UK being forced once again into strict lockdown in December (now referred to as the ‘Alpha variant’).
Researchers led by scientists at the University of Cambridge show that the deletion H69/V70 is present in more than 600,000 SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences worldwide, and has seen global expansion, particularly across much of Europe, Africa and Asia.
- Read the press release about this research.
Publication: Science Direct
Setareh Alabaf, Brian Kirkpatrick, Shanquan Chenc, Rudolf N. Cardinal, Emilio Fernandez-Egea
28 June 2021
Researchers examined whether timing of known risk factors for schizophrenia may influence the development of schizophrenia with primary negative symptoms.View publication
Publication: Authorea (pre-print)
Mark Ferris, Rebecca Ferris, Chris Workman, Eoin O’Connor, David A Enoch, Emma Goldesgeyme, Natalie Quinnell, Parth Patel, Jo Wright, Geraldine Martell, Christine Moody, Ashley Shaw, Christopher J.R. Illingworth, Nicholas J. Matheson, Michael P. Weekes
24 June 2021
When Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge upgraded its face masks for staff working on COVID-19 wards to filtering face piece 3 (FFP3) respirators, it saw a dramatic fall – up to 100% – in hospital-acquired SARS-CoV-2 infections among these staff.
The findings are reported by a team at the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) NHS Foundation Trust. The research has not yet been peer-reviewed, but is being released early because of the urgent need to share information relating to the pandemic.View publication
Publication: Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology
Maura Malpetti, , Negin Holland, P. Simon Jones, Rong Ye, , Thomas E. Cope, Tim D. Fryer, Young T. Hong, George Savulich, Timothy Rittman, Luca Passamonti, Elijah Mak, Franklin I. Aigbirhio, John T. O’Brien, & James B. Rowe
16 June 2021
Brain cells communicate via special connections called synapses. The loss of these synapses is common and early in dementia. We can now measure the amount of synapses across the brain, in people, with a brain scanning technique called positron emission tomography.
Researchers studied healthy adults who were at risk of developing dementia because of a mutation in a gene called C9orf72. They found that synapse loss was already present many years before symptoms were expected, especially in a part of the brain called the thalamus. Such early pre-symptomatic changes are vital to measure, in order to test preventative treatments to step dementia in people at high genetic riskView publication
Publication: Clinical Trials
Estée Török, Benjamin R Underwood, Mark Toshner, Claire Waddington, Emad Sidhom, Katherine Sharrocks, Rachel Bousfield, Charlotte Summers, Caroline Saunders, Zoe McIntyre, Helen Morris, Jo Piper, Gloria Calderon, Sarah Dennis, Tracy Assari, Anita Marguerie de Rotrou, Ashley Shaw, John Bradley, John O’Brien, Robert C Rintoul, Ian Smith, Ed Bullmore, Krishna Chatterjee
22 June 2021
Researchers describe their experience of rapidly setting up and delivering a novel COVID-19 vaccine trial, using clinical and research staff and facilities in three National Health Service Trusts in Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom.
Researchers encountered and overcame a number of challenges including differences in organisational structures, research facilities available, staff experience and skills, information technology and communications infrastructure, and research training and assessment procedures. These were overcome by setting up a project team that included key members from all three organisations that met at least daily by teleconference.View publication
Publication: European Heart Journal
SCORE2 working group and ESC Cardiovascular risk collaboration
13 June 2021
The researchers analysed data from nearly 700,000 mainly middle-aged participants in 45 large-scale studies to develop risk prediction models (SCORE2) tailored for use in European countries.
The participants did not have previous history of CVD at the outset and 30,000 had a CVD event (heart attack or stroke) during the first 10 years of follow up.
These risk models were then statistically adapted or ‘recalibrated’ to more accurately estimate CVD risk for contemporary populations in four European risk regions, using data on population-specific CVD incidence rates and risk factor values from 10.8 million individuals. Read the full storyView publication
Publication: Pediatric Obesity
Laurentya Olga, Inge A. L. P. van Beijsterveldt, Ieuan A. Hughes, David B. Dunger, Ken K. Ong, Anita C. S. Hokken-Koelega, Emanuella De Lucia Rolfe
10 June 2021
Anthropometry-based equations (included weight, height, body mass index etc.) are commonly used to estimate infant body composition. However, existing equations were designed for newborns or adolescents. We aimed to (a) derive new prediction equations in infancy against air-displacement plethysmography (ADP-PEA Pod) as the criterion, (b) validate the newly developed equations in an independent infant cohort and (c) compare them with published equations (Slaughter-1988, Aris-2013, Catalano-1995).View publication
Segun Fatumo , Ville Karhunen, Tinashe Chikowore, Toure Sounkou , Brenda Udosen, Chisom Ezenwa, Mariam Nakabuye, Opeyemi Soremekun, Iyas Daghlas, David K. Ryan, Amybel Taylor, Amy M. Mason, Scott M. Damrauer, Marijana Vujkovic, Keith L. Keene, Myriam Fornage, Marjo-Riitta Järvelin, Stephen Burgess, Dipender Gill,
3 June 2021
Metabolic traits affect ischemic stroke (IS) risk, but the degree to which this varies across different ethnic ancestries is not known. Our aim was to apply Mendelian randomization to investigate the causal effects of type 2 diabetes (T2D) liability and lipid traits on IS risk in African ancestry individuals, and to compare them to estimates obtained in European ancestry individualsView publication