skip to main content

Paget named 'Centre of the Month' for European research study

05 August 2021


The James Paget has been named ‘Centre of the Month’ for June 2021 as we continue to recruit to a Europe-wide research study looking at the use of a fluorescent dye to assist in bowel surgery.

While Indocyanine green (ICG), a dye which glows green under near infra-red light, has been used in medical tests for many years; including to help determine cardiac output, liver function, and making parts of the eye more visible during procedures; the IntAct trial, being run by researchers at the University of Leeds, is a much-needed, large-scale, randomised controlled trial for its use in bowel anastomosis – surgery where two formerly distant parts of the intestine are joined after a portion of the bowel is removed due to rectal cancer.

A serious side effect of this type of surgery is a leak from where the two parts of the bowel have been joined together. This is called an anastomotic leak and it occurs when the join in the bowel doesn’t heal properly after the operation. This can sometimes lead to infections, such as sepsis, and even death.

The researchers think that one possible cause of an anastomotic leak is poor blood supply in the join of the bowel after surgery. The IntAct study team wants to see if it is possible to reduce this side effect by using ICG during the operation. When the ICG dye is injected into the blood and makes it glow, it shows surgeons the blood supply around the join. It is thought that this technology will therefore help surgeons reconnect parts of the bowel which have good blood supply.  This in turn may help to prevent leaks in the bowel from happening and this life-threatening complication could be reduced by up to half.   

This ground breaking research aims to look at how effective using ICG in rectal cancer surgery can be and if lives can be saved by using it.

Twenty-eight hospitals across the UK and Europe, including in Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Germany and Ireland, are signing up patients to be involved and our hospital was highlighted as being the highest recruiting centre for the study in May, being named as ‘Centre of the Month’ for this achievement.

Only a comparatively small number of patients are eligible for the trial but many having the surgery at the James Paget have agreed to take part in it.

Consultant Surgeon Christopher Liao, who is leading the trial at the James Paget, said; “This is ground breaking technology and we are lucky to be part of this trial, and to have had success recruiting to it, as this should significantly help our patients now and in the future.

“We started recruitment to the trial in November 2020, and thanks to our excellent team of surgeons Mr Velchuru and Mr Aryal, and research nurses, especially Elva and Daryle, we’ve been able to talk to patients about the possible benefits of being involved in this trial and have been able to give some extra confidence about the procedure.”

Some of the IntAct team - research nurses Daryle and Elva with Mr Velchuru and Mr Liao

Some of the James Paget team involved in the IntAct trial.