Leslie Ash backs £1.4 million campaign to fight superbugs

08 Jun 2009 13:51:00.000

PA 154/09

Actress Leslie Ash has urged people to join the fight against deadly hospital superbugs by supporting a new £1.4 million fundraising campaign led by The University of Nottingham.


The money will fund research by world-leading scientists at the University’s Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections (CHAI) into new methods of preventing and treating superbug infections, such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile (C.diff), which are responsible for thousands of deaths every year.


Over the past decade, almost 37,000 people have died after contracting one of these two devastating infections, while C.diff alone killed more people in the UK in 2007 than all road accidents that year.

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Leslie, who is patron of CHAI and faced a long and difficult recovery after contracting MSSA, a strain related to MRSA, five years ago, said: “Stopping healthcare-associated infections, funding treatments and raising funds for research and prevention are vital — I can’t stress this enough.


“I’m proud to be the patron of CHAI. I was one of the unfortunate ones to contract an MSSA infection and it changed my life. It’s taken five long years and a lot of support from those I love to regain any sort of normality.


“At CHAI, they are working so hard to stop anyone else’s life being affected by these deadly bugs and I would urge people to support CHAI in any way they can.”


The Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections (CHAI) brings together nine different academic schools at The University of Nottingham, covering a wide range of disciplines, and clinical colleagues from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.


Current research projects being undertaken at the centre include:


•    Developing new vaccines and antibiotics

•    Rapidly detecting and identifying strains of C.diff

•    Improved rapid diagnostic tests for MRSA, especially the very serious community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) strains

•    Understanding how C.diff spreads in hospitals


Professor Richard James, a leading international expert on healthcare-acquired infections and Director of CHAI, said: “It is crucial that we find new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating infections like MRSA and C.diff. It took over 13 years to start reducing the number of hospital infections and deaths caused by these superbugs in the UK but new strains, such as CA-MRSA (community-acquired MRSA), are now appearing and present a formidable new challenge. We are delighted that Leslie is once again lending us her support and helping to get this important message across.


“There is currently no national charity dedicated to funding research into these killer infections, so anyone contributing to this fundraising campaign — no matter how big or small their donation — can be sure that their money will make a real difference.”


Donations to the campaign can be made by contacting Emma Pearson in The University of Nottingham’s Development Office on 0115 951 3724 or by e-mail at emma.pearson@nottingham.ac.uk


More information about the Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections (CHAI) is available on the web at www.hcai.nottingham.ac.uk


— Ends —


Notes to editors

: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.


More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.


The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.


Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Richard James

on +44 (0)115 846 7952, richard.james@nottingham.ac.uk 


Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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