Lord Alastair Aberdare has been a member of the House of Lords since 2009. He previously worked for IBM for 21 years in the US, the UK, and Belgium before establishing one of the UK’s first public affairs consultancies. He also established an organization dedicated to preparing unemployed and disadvantaged young adults for the workforce.
Alastair has been a trustee of several charities, including the National Botanic Garden of Wales, St. John Cymru–Wales, the National Library of Wales, and the Parliament Choir. He currently serves as a trustee of three classical music charities, as well as the UK Focused Ultrasound Foundation (UK FUSF).
What made you interested in getting involved with the UK FUSF?
I’ve had friends who have died from pancreatic cancer and a much smaller number of friends who survived it and are in remission. The statistics are appalling; many people survive for less than a year after diagnosis. Through my role in the House of Lords, I joined a group focusing on pancreatic cancer, through which I discovered there is a significant opportunity for the expansion of medical research in the UK. When I heard about the possibility of focused ultrasound treating pancreatic cancer, I was motivated to take an interest.
What excites you about this technology?
Focused ultrasound is an extremely exciting technology, and I was immediately impressed by the number of conditions it might be able to address. What I found most striking about focused ultrasound was its combination of imaging and diagnostics with therapeutic treatments and its noninvasive nature. This technology could be a game-changer in the treatment of many serious conditions and debilitating diseases.
What do you hope for the future of the UK FUSF?
The process of getting new technologies accepted in the UK is very long and complex. It’s not going to be an easy task, but it is extremely important. Focused ultrasound can be an effective treatment and has the potential to change the economics of healthcare in a big way. People could avoid surgery, spend less time in hospital, have less need for expensive prescription drugs, and more.
I hope to do what I can through my role in the House of Lords to provide a channel of communication about the UK FUSF and the promise of this technology.