Pete Phillips and James Evans were  invited to the 10th RCSEd All Wales Medical & Dental Student Surgical Research symposium at Margam Orangery in October 2019 to judge poster and oral presentations and to present the SMTL award for best science presentation.  

The winner this year was Alilish Williams from the School of Dentistry, Cardiff University,  for her poster on "Immunohistochemical Expression Patterns of Inflammatory Cells Involved in Chronic Hyperplastic Candidosis"

Understanding the host immune response in CHC is important as CHC is potentially a pre-malignant condition, and this information could serve as both a diagnostic tool for CHC and could also allow the monitoring of the host for potential immune factors associated with CHC. Ailish's research showed that CHC was shown to predominantly be a T-helper cell response in the lamina propria, as opposed to a cytotoxic T cell response.

Ailish Williams receives her SMTL Good Science Award


The photo shows Pete Phillips, Director of SMTL, handing Ailish her award trophy


Leanne Gater, a documentary film maker from Wild Films contacted SMTL earlier this year about a documentary project on Horseshoe Crabs.  SMTL undertake endotoxin testing for NHS facilities across Wales using  LAL, a substance derived from the blood of these Horseshoe Crabs.

Leanne wanted to to demonstrate how Horseshoe Crabs aid in keeping millions of people safe though endotoxin testing, but also how they’re also suffering from a decline in population and what could be done to help save the species.

Endotoxins are complexes associated with the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria which are constantly shed into the environment and released when the bacteria die or multiply. Bacterial endotoxins are the most common and by far the most potent pyrogen (pyrogen literally means heat generating, and the term refers to any substance, microbial or otherwise, which would induce a temperature rise when introduced into a patient). Commonly used methods of sterilisation generally do not destroy endotoxins, therefore a product may be sterile and free of viable microorganisms but not necessarliy be endotoxin-free.

Leanne spent time at SMTL in October 2019 and filmed SMTL staff undertaking the tests which we perform for Health Boards across Wales, checking that their surgical instruments have been reprocessed appropriately and that there is no unsafe level of residual endotoxin on their instrument. 

We will update this page when we know the date of release of Leanne's film.


Dr Gavin Hughes recently presented at the 2019 International Lymphoedema Framework (ILF) conference hosted in Chicago. 

Gavin was invited to present on the work SMTL have undertaken in conjunction with Welsh NHS lymphoedema clinicians to independently assess compression garments supplied by manufacturers for NWSSP Procurement Services  contracts.  The presentation focused on laboratory testing that measures the pressures exerted by garments. 

The test results identified numerous quality issues with garments supplied in the market, and raises the question as to whether clinicians can have confidence in the pressures claimed by manufacturers of  lymphoedema compression garments when applied to patients.

The differences in pressure classification between the UK and other countries was highlighted, and the resulting confusion this causes for users and clinicians was discussed.

The Evidence Based Procurement Board have published their latest advice which is on Farco-fill protect, a sterile solution containing 0.3% triclosan that is used for the inflation of indwelling urinary catheters in an effort to reduce bacterial colonisation of the catheter

Following consideration of the published evidence, the EBPB consider that there is currently insufficient evidence to support its use in the Welsh NHS.  Read the full review on the EBPB web site.

SMTL are pleased to formally welcome three new members of staff to the team.

Claudia Padurariu is a microbiologist from Romania, who has worked in the pharmaceutical industry before moving to the UK.    She joined the Biological  Testing team at SMTL in March 2019, undertaking biological and chemical testing on medical devices.

Local girl Sally Bent  joins the SMTL administration office team to provide cover for Jade Taylor who is on maternity leave.  Sally has previously worked for Bridgend Council.

Finally, we welcome Rhys Howells to our IT department. Since graduating with a computer networking degree, Rhys has worked in a number of computer support roles, most recently in the Swansea area.






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