Moorfields medal awarded for eyelid cancer research

Dr John Bladen, clinical research fellow at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, has been awarded the prestigious Moorfields research medal at the 2017 annual Moorfields alumni meeting.

The research medal is awarded to the most outstanding research being carried out by trainees at Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. Dr Bladen received the medal for his ongoing research into eyelid cancer, which aims to improve our understanding of how and why the cancers develop.

His research involves dissecting the molecular pathways of aggressive eyelid cancers with a view to identifying new anti-cancer therapies. So far, he has identified genes that promote tumour growth in basal cell carcinoma, one of the most common types of skin cancers. Dr Bladen also identified genes in the tissue surrounding the growth that had previously been considered non-cancerous.

Dr John Bladen said: “I am delighted that my research has been recognised by the Moorfields alumni association. It’s an honour to receive this prestigious award and to join past recipients whom I have long admired and respected. I hope that my research will improve our pathological understanding of eyelid cancers and lead to the development of less invasive treatments in the future.”

Professor Sir Peng Tee Khaw, director of research and development at Moorfields Eye Hospital and director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology,said: “Dr Bladen is a deserving winner of this research medal and I congratulate him on this achievement. His research will go some way to developing personalised oncology treatments for patients as a gold standard approach in the future.”

Dr John Bladen’s research is part-funded by the Fight for Sight clinical fellowship award. He is further supported by Moorfields Eye Charity, The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.

Notes to editors

For media enquiries and photos, please contact the Moorfields Eye Hospital Press office on or call 020 7566 2628. For out of hours enquiries please call 020 7253 3411 who will contact the on call press officer.

1.         Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common forms of skin cancers in the UK, accounting for almost 80% of all skin cancers.

2.         The alumni research medal is awarded to a trainee that has submitted a piece of research of relevant interest to ophthalmology, which was accepted for publication. The medal is funded by Moorfields Eye Charity.

3.         Moorfields alumni meeting is a one day conference open to all current and former members of Moorfields’ clinical staff. It presents an opportunity to hear about the latest developments in research, technology and clinical practice in ophthalmology. The event was held on Friday 10 March at the Royal Society of Medicine with over 200 people in attendance.

4.         Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the leading providers of eye health services in the UK and a world class centre of excellence for ophthalmic research and education. Our main focus is the treatment and care of NHS patients with a wide range of eye problems, from common complaints to rare conditions that require treatment not available elsewhere in the UK. Our unique patient case-mix and the number of people we treat mean that our clinicians have expertise in discrete ophthalmic sub specialties.

In 2015/16, we saw more than half a million patients in our outpatient services and carried out almost 40,000 surgical procedures, making Moorfields the largest ophthalmic provider in the UK. We also provided care to 104,000 patients in our A&E department.

We treat people in 32 locations in and around London, the south east and Bedford, enabling us to provide expert treatment closer to patients’ homes. We also operate commercial divisions that provide care to private patients in both London and the Middle East.  

Moorfields’ innovative approach to delivering care across multiple sites has been explicitly referenced in recent national policy. The Five Year Forward View highlighted the benefits of our model in helping to sustain local hospital services, enabling smaller hospitals to remain viable. The Dalton Review categorised our approach as a contractual arrangement which it described as a service-level chain. More recently, the Moorfields@ model has been cited as an example of franchising or networked care. Terminology will be important as we seek to describe the models that could be replicated across the NHS. 

With our academic partners at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields is recognised as a leading centre of excellence in eye and vision research. Together, we form one of the largest ophthalmic research sites in the world, with the largest patient population in Europe or the USA. We publish more scientific papers than any other eye and vision research site and have an extensive joint research portfolio.

5.         Moorfields Eye Charity supports the work of Moorfields Eye Hospital and its research partner, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, making a difference for patients at the hospital and for people with sight problems around the world. It raises money to help the hospital provide the best possible care for its patients, educating the researchers and clinicians of tomorrow and supporting leading-edge research that aims to develop new treatments for blinding diseases.

6.         Fight for Sight is the leading UK charity dedicated to funding pioneering research to prevent sight loss, treating eye disease. Fight for Sight is funding research at leading universities and hospitals throughout the UK. Our current research programme is focusing on preventing and treating age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataract and corneal disease. We are also funding research into the causes of childhood blindness and a large number of rare eye diseases. For further information, please visit call 020 7264 3900.

7.         The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology was established in April 2007 and has recently been awarded a third five year term by the NIHR from April 2017. Its purpose is to conduct 'translational research' that is designed to take advances in basic medical research from the laboratory to the clinic, enabling patients to benefit more quickly from new scientific breakthroughs.  Our centre is currently one of 20 biomedical research centres that have been awarded from April 2017 to NHS/university partnerships with an outstanding international reputation for medical research and expertise, and experience of translating that research into the clinical setting.  For further information please visit

8.         The UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is one of a number of specialised research centres within UCL (University College London) and together with Moorfields Eye Hospital is one of the leading centres for eye research worldwide. The combination of the institute’s research resource with the resources of Moorfields Eye Hospital, which has the largest ophthalmic patient population in the Western world, opens the way for advances at the forefront of vision research.  For further information please visit



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