Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is a potentially deadly bowel condition that mostly affects premature babies.
Cameron Shearer's story is one of many real world accounts of occasions where early screening could save young lives: Cameron was born 16 weeks early with NEC. His gut hadn't been able to develop properly and this is where the problem occurred. Cameron ended up having seven operations but he tragically died before he was six months old.
Below are some key facts and figures surrounding the condition in the UK.
Because the disease usually strikes without warning, by the time it has been identified the baby is generally already in very bad health. After diagnosis, emergency surgery is often required to remove the damaged parts of the gut. The earlier this can be done the better, but in many cases the disease is just not spotted early enough. It is vital that Action continue to fund research focused on tackling this condition head on.
Action Medical Research are currently funding research to make sure that NEC can be diagnosed significantly earlier. The researchers at Birmingham University, Bristol University and the University of the West of England are designing a new sensor which could allow for the screening of premature babies to become routine at the cot side. If successful, then it would be the first time ever that this has been able to happen.
If you would be interested in getting involved in some fundraising work for Action Medical Research then please have a look at our fundraising events page. It is only with your help that we are able to fund research into conditions like NEC and we hope that one day our research will mean that babies with the condition can be treated earlier and more effectively.