UCL News


MRC grant to investigate superbug

10 July 2007

A team co-led by Dr Peter Mullany and Adam Roberts (UCL Eastman Dental Institute) has received a £1.

Dr Peter Mullany 6m grant from the Medical Research Council to study the hospital superbug C.difficile.

For the next five years, a new full-time researcher will work alongside Dr Mullany to investigate the toxins and other factors that cause the disease.

"C. difficile has been a problem for many years, but very little is known at the molecular level about how it causes disease," said Dr Mullany. "The long-term aim of this research is to understand the detailed mechanisms underlying how this organism creates disease."

Hospital patients are more likely to contract a C. difficile infection than the better-known bug MRSA: in the UK, there is a one in 50 chance of developing C. difficile while in hospital, compared with a one in 77 chance of picking up MRSA. C. difficile kills three times as many people each year than MRSA.

5,000 people die from a healthcare-associated infection every year in the UK, and one in 12 people contract an infection during a stay in hospital.

The research will be carried out in conjunction with the Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections, based at the University of Nottingham.

To find out more, use the link at the bottom of this article.

Image: Dr Peter Mullany will study the factors that cause the deadly hospital superbug C.difficile