Arthritis Research Campaign funds major UCL projects
8 July 2008
The Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC) has announced that it is funding two projects at UCL.
The first project, which has received £115,748, is based at the UCL Centre for Respiratory Research. Led by Dr Robin McAnulty, it is researching pulmonary fibrosis, a condition caused by abnormal growth in the connective tissue that supports lung structure.
Recent findings at the UCL Centre for Respiratory Research have started to identify metabolic abnormalities that contribute to disease in lung connective tissue. The two-year grant from ARC will enable this research to be developed further.
Dr McAnulty said: "Systemic sclerosis is progressive and debilitating with a significant morbidity and mortality rate. New treatment approaches are crucial because there are no adequate therapeutic interventions currently available, and transplantation is an extremely limited option."
Tissue for the study will come from a bank of tissue samples from stored biopsies and transplant material built up over many years at the Royal Brompton National Heart and Lung Institute, with additional material donated by Harefield Hospital.
The second project addresses the increasing rate of infection in patients who have undergone joint replacement surgery. Research at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute is using advanced genetic analysis to identify harmful bacterial strains responsible for serious bone infections.
The Arthritis Research Campaign has donated £167,600 over three years to fund a pioneering genetic profiling programme that will allow scientists to analyse which genes are crucial for the survival in bone of the microorganism Staphylococcus aureus. Understanding this will enable the development of targeted therapies for infections caused by the bacterium.
Dr Sean Nair, Reader in Cellular Microbiology at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute, who is leading the project, said: "In view of the increasing numbers of joint replacement operations that can lead to bone infection and the increased antibiotic resistance of this organism, there is an urgent need to understand how this bacterium causes infections so that appropriate therapies can be developed."
UCL scientists are working with collaborators at St George's University of London and King's College London to conduct the genetic assessments.
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