CLEFT’s mission is to bridge the gap in cleft care and knowledge. Our goal is to find ways to improve the treatment and outcomes for children born with a cleft. We can do this by drawing on the expertise of some of the world’s best clinicians in cleft care through our ongoing relationship with the North Thames Cleft Centre based at Great Ormond Street Hospital and St. Andrews Centre, Chelmsford and sponsoring research to:

  • better understand the likely causes of clefts;
  • find new and kinder treatments/ surgery to repair the cleft;
  • find improved ways to develop an integrated approach to clinical care

Despite our successes so far, there is still much uncertainty about the best techniques for surgical treatment of clefts and the results are far from perfect, for example, approximately 20% of patients with certain types of cleft have sufficiently impaired growth of the upper jaw to require major jaw surgery. A cleft lip and/or palate continues to be the most common birth defect so continuing to fix the problems as they arise has limitations. The cost for the NHS to pay for a child’s lifetime care is considerable and children’s physical and emotional well-being will continue to be at risk.

The better the primary surgery performed on a baby the less later secondary surgery such as jaw advancement or further palate surgery will need to be undertaken. This is obviously of great benefit to the patient and also reduces the cost to the NHS. We are now reaching out to our supporters and beyond to fund further research to change children’s lives – now and long into the future.

By funding research, we seek to provide answers to currently unanswered questions, such as:

  • Why do clefts occur?
  • Can we identify which genes have a role in clefts?
  • Why do so many cleft palate operations fail to produce a fully functional palate?
  • What surgical techniques minimise the effect of surgery on growth of the upper jaw?
  • Does the technique of repair of the muscles of the palate reduce hearing loss in children with clefts?
  • What are the dental anomalies in different types of clefts and how can they be best treated?

By giving a gift of a donation to us today, you will be helping us to achieve our goals and together, we can help children with cleft lip and palate.