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Dr Charlotte Vrinten
Room 209
Visiting address: 1-19 Torrington Place
Postal address: UCL, Gower Street
Tel: (+44) 020 7679 41735
  • Research Assistant
  • Behavioural Science and Health
  • Institute of Epidemiology & Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

Charlotte has a broad interest in human biology, psychology, and social behaviour, as exemplified by her degrees in medicine, psychology, and philosophy.  She currently works as a research psychologist on cancer fear in the healthy population and its effect on cancer-related behaviours, such as screening, prevention, and early diagnosis.  Her work shows that despite improvements in cancer outcomes, cancer is still a widely feared disease.  She has also shown that the construct 'cancer fear' is likely to be multidimensional, comprising of general worry about getting cancer, and more specific fears such as fear of cancer treatment or the social consequences of a cancer diagnosis.  Better knowledge and measurement of the multiple dimensions of cancer fear may help understand how cancer fear sometimes motivates and sometimes deters cancer-preventive behaviours such as screening.

Alongside this, she examines the contribution that n-of-one trials could make to the creation of an evidence base for treatments for patients with rare diseases, focusing on the interplay between various stakeholders such as patients, clinicians, and the healthcare regulatory framework as well as the ethical aspects of this approach.  

Her previous work includes research into the feasibility and safety of withdrawing diabetes treatment in the very elderly (80+ years) to increase quality of life in the last years of life, and moral responsibility for disease in the treatment of overweight and obese diabetes patients.

Research Groups
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Research Summary

Charlotte's work focuses on cancer fear in the healthy population and how this affects uptake of cancer screening and help-seeking for possible cancer symptoms.  This project is part of a programme grant awarded by Cancer Research UK to Professor Jane Wardle.

In her spare time, Charlotte is completing her PhD in Medicine.  Her PhD focuses on whether n-of-one trials -multiple crossover trials in a single patient- could facilitate research into off-label medicines for rare diseases, using rare neuromuscular diseases as a case study.  The rationale for the project is that this research is often hindered by the small numbers of patients available to participate in clinical trials.  N-of-one trials, whereby the patient acts as his or her own control, can help determine whether a treatment is effective in an individual patient.  When conducted in a series, data from n-of-one trials can also be aggregated to form population estimates of treatment effect.  This design often requires fewer participants than parallel-group randomised controlled trials, but it is currently unclear if the results of such trials are acceptable to healthcare regulators deciding about licensing and reimbursement of treatments.  Her thesis explores the use of n-of-one trials in determining effectiveness of treatment in patients with a rare disease, the acceptability of this type of design to healthcare regulators and other stakeholders, and the ethical aspects of n-of-one trials for rare diseases.

01-JUL-2012 PhD candidate EMGO+ and Clinical Genetics, section Community Genetics VU University Medical Center, Netherlands
15-NOV-2010 – 01-JUL-2012 Junior researcher EMGO+ and Clinical Genetics, section Community Genetics VU University Medical Center, Netherlands
Academic Background
2018 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Medicine Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
2010 BA Bachelor of Arts – Philosophy Universiteit Utrecht
2010 BSc Bachelor of Science – Psychology Universiteit Utrecht
2010 MSc Master of Science – Medicine Universiteit Utrecht
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