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Fellowship supports super bug crackdown

5 March 2008 – for immediate release

Professor Peter Lambert from Aston University and Professor Tom Elliott from University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust have recently received the first Wyeth Anti-infectives Fellowship Award. The donation of �100,000 will support their ongoing research into combating hospital super bugs such as MRSA, particularly where biofilms are involved.

Biofilms produced by organisms can enable them to become attached to surfaces of medical devices placed in the body, such as prosthetic joints, catheters, heart valves and pacemakers, and can cause serious infection. The funding will support research into the efficacy of well established antibiotics, as well as to further the development of newer drugs, which may show potential for treatment of biofilm infections.

Professor Lambert from Aston University’s School of Life & Health Sciences said: ‘Insertion of medical devices into the body has become a vital part of medical treatment. Whilst this is of great benefit in treating patients the devices carry a small risk of infection. Infections of medical devices such as catheters, replacement joints and heart valves are difficult to diagnose and treat.

‘We are actively seeking new ways to use antibiotics that will be effective in treating these infections without removing the devices from the body. When bacteria form biofilms they are very difficult to detect and to treat. We have also been studying new methods for the rapid detection of MRSA in patients and of predicting their sensitivity to different antibiotics which will further enhance our ability to treat these infections.’

Vignesh Rajah, Medical Director, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals commented that: ‘We are delighted that Aston University and the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust are the first recipients of the Fellowship. Wyeth has contributed to the development and provision of anti-infectives for over 60 years and this award has been created to recognise the outstanding work of U.K academic institutions engaged in anti-infectives research.’

Professor Tom Elliot from University Hospital Birmingham added, ‘It is a great honour to have received this award. Prof Lambert and I are hopeful that this fundamental research will improve both the diagnosis and treatment of patients with these currently difficult to treat infections.’

ENDS

For further information please contact Hannah Brookes on 0121 204 4549 or h.brookes@aston.ac.uk

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