The latest list of publications from the Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre with a brief summary. 

Publication: Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience

George Savulich, Emily Thorp, Thomas Piercy, Katie A Peterson, John D Pickard, Barbara J Sahakian.

21 Jan 2019


A new ‘brain training’ game designed by researchers at the University of Cambridge improves users’ concentration, according to new research published today. The scientists behind the venture say this could provide a welcome antidote to the daily distractions that we face in a busy world.

A team from the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge, has developed and tested ‘Decoder’, a new game that is aimed at helping users improve their attention and concentration. The game is based on the team’s own research and has been evaluated scientifically.

In a study published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience Professor Sahakian and colleague Dr George Savulich have demonstrated that playing Decoder on an iPad for eight hours over one month improves attention and concentration. This form of attention activates a frontal-parietal network in the brain. Read the full story here

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Publication: Journal of Hepatology

Rhiannon Taylor, Elisa Allen, James A. Richards, Mingzheng A. Goh, James Neuberger, David Collett, Gavin J. Pettigrew, Liver Advisory Group to NHS Blood and Transplant

11 January 2019


This study looks at patients who require a liver transplant to save their lives; this liver can be donated by a person who has died either after their heart has stopped (donation after cardiac death – DCD) or after the brain has been injured and can no longer support life (donation after brainstem death – DCB). We know that livers donated after brainstem death function better than those after cardiac death, but there are not enough of these livers for everyone, so we wished to help patients decide whether it was better for them to accept an early offer of a DCD liver than waiting longer to receive a “better” liver from a DBD donor. We found that patients were more likely to survive if they accepted the offer of a liver transplant as soon as possible (DCD or DBD), especially if their liver disease was very severe.

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Publication: BMJ Open

John OO AyorindeDominic M Summers, Laura Pankhurst, Emma Laing, Alison J Deary, Karla Hemming, Edward CF Wilson, Victoria Bardsley, Desley A Neil, Gavin J Pettigrew

17 January 2019


Most potential kidney transplant donors in the UK are aged over 60 years, yet increasing donor age is associated with poorer graft survival and function. Urgent preimplantation kidney biopsy can identify chronic injury, and may aid selection of better ‘quality’ kidneys from this group. However, the impact of biopsy on transplant numbers remains unproven. The PreImplantation Trial of Histopathology In renal Allografts (PITHIA) study will assess whether the introduction of a national, 24 hours, digital histopathology service increases the number, and improves outcomes, of kidneys transplanted in the UK from older deceased donors.

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Publication: Nature Genetics

Geoff Macintyre, Teodora E. Goranova, Dilrini De Silva, Darren Ennis, Anna M. Piskorz, Matthew Eldridge, Daoud Sie, Liz-Anne Lewsley, Aishah Hanif, Cheryl Wilson, Suzanne Dowson, Rosalind M. Glasspool, Michelle Lockley, Elly Brockbank, Ana Montes, Axel Walther, Sudha Sundar, Richard Edmondson, Geoff D. Hall, Andrew Clamp, Charlie Gourley, Marcia Hall, Christina Fotopoulou, Hani Gabra, James Paul, Anna Supernat, David Millan, Aoisha Hoyle, Gareth Bryson, Craig Nourse, Laura Mincarelli, Luis Navarro Sanchez, Bauke Ylstra, Mercedes Jimenez-Linan, Luiza Moore, Oliver Hofmann, Florian Markowetz, Iain A. McNeish and James D. Brenton


Researchers have found distinct patterns of DNA rearrangement that are linked to patient outcomes.

In this study of ovarian cancer samples from over 500 women, the research team harnessed big data processing techniques to look for broad patterns in the genetic readouts from ovarian cancer cells.

Rather than focusing on the detail of each individual mistake in the DNA, they designed powerful computer algorithms to scan the genetic data, finding seven distinct patterns.

They showed that each pattern, or “signature”, represented a different mechanism of DNA mutation. Taken together, these signatures were able to make sense of the chaos seen in ovarian cancer genomes. Read the full story here

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Publication: The Lancet

Michael J Sweeting, Katya L Masconi, PhD, Edmund Jones, PhD, Pinar Ulug, PhD, Matthew J Glover, MSc, Prof Jonathan A Michaels, MChir, Prof Matthew J Bown, MD, Prof Janet T Powell, MD, Prof Simon G Thompson, DSc


The NHS introduced ultrasound screening in men aged 65 and over in 2009 to detect and treat the condition – which arises when the main blood vessel swells in the abdomen, and is symptomless until the point of rupture. Since the launch, the programme has been successfully screening and identifying men at risk of an AAA.

Researchers wanted to see if UK women – who are less likely to have AAAs – could also benefit from a similar screening programme. Read the full press release here

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Publication: Journal of Autoimmunity

M. Saeed Qureshi, Jawaher Alsughayyir, Manu Chhabra, Jason M. Ali, Martin J. Goddard, Christopher A. Devine, Thomas M. Conlon, Michelle A. Linterman, Reza Motallebzadeh, Gavin J.Pettigrew

7 December 2018


The development of humoral autoimmunity following organ transplantation is increasingly recognised, but of uncertain significance. We examine whether autoimmunity contributes independently to allograft rejection.

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Publication: Neuroimage

Grist JT, McLean MA, Riemer F, Schulte RF, Deen SS, Zaccagna F, et al.

2019 Apr 1;189:171-179

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Publication: Journal of Neurology

Nye CJS, Wagner A, Kousin-Ezewu O, Jones JL, Coles AJ.

2019 Mar;266(3):780-781

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Publication: Cell

Berry MR, Mathews RJ, Ferdinand JR, Jing C, Loudon KW, Wlodek E, Dennison TW, Kuper C, Neuhofer W, Clatworthy MR.

Cell. 2017 Aug 24;170(5):860-874.e19. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.07.022.

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Publication: Science Signalling

Schneditz G, Elias JE, Pagano E, Zaeem Cader M, Saveljeva S, Long K, Mukhopadhyay S, Arasteh M, Lawley TD, Dougan G, Bassett A, Karlsen TH, Kaser A, Kaneider NC.

2019 Jan 1;12(562). pii: eaau9048.

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Publication: Nature

Bashford-Rogers, R.J.M., Bergamaschi, L., McKinney, E.F., Pombal, D.C., Mescia, F., Lee, J.C., Thomas, D.C., Flint, S.M., Kellam, P., Jayne, D.R.W., Lyons P.A. and Smith, K.G.C.


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Publication: BMJ Open

Thomas MG, Bayliss C, Bond S, Dowling F, Galea J, Jairath V, Lamb C, Probert C, Timperley-Preece E, Watson A, Whitehead L, Williams JG, Parkes M, Kaser A, Raine T.

2019 Feb 15;9(2):e023765.

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