Research into all conditions that affect the liver will lead to the latest advances in patient care, work as detailed below is vital to continue the fight against these common conditions that affect so many of us.
My academic work focuses on the management of infection in cirrhosis which is the commonest complication of advanced liver disease.
I've won £1.6 million from the Health Innovation Challenge Fund (joint Wellcome Trust & Department of Health) for my project ATTIRE - Albumin To prevenT Infection in chronic liveR failurE.
This is to fund a multi-centre clinical trial at >40 sites that will examine whether administration of albumin to patients with liver failure in order to increase levels to near normal will prevent hospital acquired (nosocomial) infection. The clinical research network (CRN) will fund the research nurse costs.
Over 100,000 patients are admitted to hospital every year with advanced liver cirrhosis.
Other groups have shown that white blood cells in these patients have an impaired ability to fight infection leading to immune suppression and increased risk of infection. My group have shown that this is caused by an up regulation of the hormone Prostaglandin E2. Furthermore we demonstrated that infusion of albumin can reverse this process by binding and neutralising the effects of Prostaglandin E2.
Albumin is currently used as a fluid resuscitation agent in acutely unwell patients e.g. shock or trauma. We wish to repurpose it as an immune restorative drug to improve white blood cell function in patients with advanced cirrhosis and therefore improve their ability to fight off infection. We hope to demonstrate that its use will lead to reduced nosocomial infection rates, mortality and length of stay and thereby reduce health care costs.
I also have a Medical Research Council Project Grant to investigate an exciting new human model of infection. I hope that this will lead to several exciting new discoveries and also reduce the need for animal use in research.