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14 November 2008
New research underway at the School of Medicine could see a decrease in the rates of treatment failure among patients with end-stage kidney disease.
Experts in the Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Interdisciplinary Research Group have secured more than £230,000 ($375,000) from the ‘Renal Discoveries - The Baxter Extramural Grant’ program, to investigate the potential to safeguard susceptible patients against serious problems caused by bacterial infections.
With only four grants awarded world-wide each year for innovation, exploration and application of research which advances the knowledge of renal conditions and its treatment, the University is the sole recipient of the funding for the Europe/Middle East/Africa and Russia region.
Bacterial infection among patients with end-stage kidney disease is one of the major reasons for treatment failure and mortality, particularly among patients receiving peritoneal dialysis, the form of dialysis that cleans the blood inside the body through the peritoneum.
Now, thanks to the three year funding, the multidisciplinary team sponsored by Professor of Medicine John Williams, will begin studying the consequence of infection by bacteria in order to understand, and in the future better regulate, a patient’s immune response to infections. The team brings together clinicians and researchers at the Peritoneal Dialysis Unit, the Institute of Nephrology, and the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Immunology.
Dr Matthias Eberl, principal investigator at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Immunology, said: "Although peritoneal dialysis has a number of advantages such as independence from hospital and improved quality of life, infections still pose major risks to the patient. As treatment failure in these patients correlates directly with the severity of the inflammatory response and antibiotic resistance is becoming a significant problem, we need to understand why some patients are more prone to treatment failure than others."
The Baxter grant also includes a three-year visiting fellowship for a peritoneal dialysis specialist from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan. Dr Chan-Yu Lin will conduct his PhD studies on peritoneal dialysis-related infections and receive training in early treatment of inflammation, microbiological diagnosis, and analysis of patient samples in the laboratory.
Dr Eberl said: "We are studying the immune response in peritoneal dialysis patients during episodes of bacterial peritonitis to improve current ways of infection prevention and therapy. However, the scope of our work is much wider in the context of infectious and inflammatory disease in other organs and in sepsis."
Earlier this year Dr Eberl’s team together with Professor Nicholas Topley at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Immunology were awarded a Welsh Assembly Government /Medical Research Council Health Research Partnership Award from the Wales Office of Research and Development for their work on peritoneal dialysis-related infection.
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