Funding to support C. difficile research

November 11, 2010

The Peninsula Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (PenCLAHRC) has provided funding to support joint research between the University of Exeter and the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust to investigate why some cases of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) are more difficult to treat than others and also why some cases result in more incidences of relapses.

PenCLAHRC is providing £2,000 towards a PhD student to analyse data on the project.

Just over one per cent (5,931/509,090) of all deaths in England and Wales being are associated with CDI.

The researchers are approaching the project in two ways. They are studying data from patients' notes in an effort to identify factors that may indicate whether or not a case is more or less likely to relapse. In parallel, bacteriologists at the University of Exeter are extracting DNA from C. difficile strains isolated from stool samples of patients who have relapsed with infection. They hope to discover what it is at a genetic level that makes some strains of the disease produce secondary infection and relapse.

The analysis of the DNA sequences is taking place at the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Exeter and at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge.

Dr. Stephen Michell, Lecturer of Molecular Microbiology at the University of Exeter, commented: "Our close relationship with the RD&E and PenCLAHRC puts us in the ideal position to pursue this research. It is a combination of local skills, expertise and equipment and the RD&E's Clinical Microbiology Laboratory. By working together we will better understand how C. difficile causes disease and why some strains lead to cases of relapse. This in turn will help us to develop treatment strategies that will aid in the control of this disease which will have benefit to hospitals and clinical environments around the world."

Professor Stuart Logan, Director - Institute of Health Service Research and Director - PenCLAHRC, at the Peninsula College of Medicine & Dentistry, added: "This is just the sort of project that PenCLAHRC is designed to support - locally identified and undertaken research that has benefit not just to the regional community, but also further afield. This is an exciting project with immense potential."
The Peninsula Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (PenCLAHRC) is a partnership between the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), all of the local NHS organisations, the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry and the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter which aims to improve health through carrying out medical research which directly addresses local health needs.

The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

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