AND THE 2016 SIR JULES THORN AWARD FOR BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH GOES TO…

Professor Rachel Batterham and the team at University College London, who have been awarded £1,423,625 by the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust to enable them to maximise the health benefits obtained from bariatric surgery


People with an unhealthy amount of body fat, obesity, are more likely to have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and cancer and therefore die at a younger age. Weight loss (bariatric) surgery helps people with severe obesity to lose weight, improves many of the diseases linked to obesity and reduces the future risk of dying. Unfortunately, 1 in 5 people respond poorly to surgery in terms of weight loss and health gains.

New research conducted by Professor Batterham’s group suggests that a person’s genetic make-up affects their response to bariatric surgery. It was also found that people with poor weight-loss after surgery have abnormal blood levels of hormones that control appetite compared to people with a good weight-loss.

Bariatric surgery carries a small risk of dying and is costly. Thus, the goal of this research project is to undertake clinical trials to see if the recent new findings can be utilised to maximise the health benefit that patients gain from bariatric surgery. The group will test whether it is possible to:

1) Use a person’s genetic make-up to select which type of bariatric surgery they would benefit most from.

2) Use drugs in patients with a poor weight-loss after surgery to correct their abnormal blood hormone levels.