GOSH and UCLH prepare to launch first service to provide fetal surgery for spina bifida in UK

A team from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and University College London Hospitals (UCLH) are preparing to introduce the first service providing fetal surgery for spina bifida in the UK.

This pioneering surgery is being brought to the UK thanks to charitable funding totalling £450,000 from GOSH Children’s Charity and UCLH Charity. The funds are being used to facilitate research, provide training for the surgical team through collaboration with a team at KU Leuven, Belgium and surgery for the first 10 patients.

The preparations to introduce the service are a focus of BBC 2 Horizon documentary Spina Bifida and Me which airs tonight, 26 July, at 9pm. Actress Ruth Madeley, who was born with the congenital spine defect spina bifida, sets out to discover why she has it and what the future holds for people with spina bifida.

During the hour-long documentary, Ruth follows GOSH neurosurgeon Dominic Thompson and the rest of the team at GOSH and UCLH as they prepare to perform this groundbreaking surgery for the first time in the UK.

The NIHR University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre, the NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre and UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (ICH) are also supporting the research.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Lead Neurosurgeon, Dominic Thompson,says: “The groundbreaking work of the Centre for Prenatal Therapy, offering new fetal treatments that will change the lives of children, wouldn’t be possible without funding from GOSH Children’s Charity.

“For many children treated at GOSH, research is their only hope. Thanks to many generous supporters, GOSH Children’s Charity is now the largest dedicated funder of paediatric research in the UK, investing funds to help discover new treatments and cures for children with complex and rare conditions.”