Celebrating Clinical Success - Our incredible IMD department

In celebration of the 160th Birthday of our Children's Hospital, we're highlighting some of our superb teams and their achievements over the years.

One of these teams is our Inherited Metabolic Disease (IMD) department who treat children with complex multisystem disorders. Inherited metabolic diseases comprise a large class of genetic diseases involving disorders of metabolism.  The IMD laboratory was established as a regional service in 1982 to diagnose and monitor patients with IMDs across the West Midlands. Following pressure from the head of the laboratory, the first full-time consultant paediatrician for IMD commenced at BCH in August 2001, and the department has grown since then, including being one of only three centres in the country who can prescribe medication for Lysosomal Storage Disorders (LSDs).

Their team comprises of four consultants, six nurse specialists, eight dieticians and a laboratory, as well as links to psychologists, speech and language therapists and physiotherapists. As a lot of these conditions affect people in different ways, so access to specialists is key. Unfortunately, some patients’ conditions are so complex that they are not always able to be treated, so IMD manage their palliative care.

Dr Saikat Santra, Consultant in Clinical IMD said: “Since we became a department, we have seen the number of patients that we can help increase, including giving special diets and special medicines for specific patients. The huge advances in genomic testing in recent years is also rapidly the number of families we are able to diagnose and help. We’re the only centre in the West Midlands but we see patients from all over the country, including as far as Jersey.”

The department also is involved in several clinical trials over the years. It currently has six trials ongoing and recruited the first patient in the World to a recent trial of mRNA therapy for methylmalonic acidaemia.

Dr Santra said: “Our team embodies our Trust values in all we do. We are an ambitious team, we want to push the boundaries for our brave patients, and we care for our all our patients compassionately. We have consultants who are national leaders in their fields.

“I love coming to work every single day, and many of our team are very long serving, so this shows how much we enjoy our work.”