Leslie Ash video for superbug research funding

18 Nov 2009 13:56:00.000

PA 295/09

Actress Leslie Ash has made an appeal film in the hope of raising £1.4m for the Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections (CHAI) at The University of Nottingham. She says new research is vital if the NHS is to be equipped with the right tools to reduce the number of healthcare associated infections.

Every year seven per cent of hospital patients contract a healthcare associated infection. Leslie, who is Patron of CHAI, faced a long and difficult recovery after contracting MSSA, a strain related to the hospital bug MRSA.

Leslie said: “It is crucial that CHAI reaches its target of £1.4m. The centre’s team of internationally recognised experts are already working hard to stop anyone else’s life being affected by one of these deadly bugs but there is still a lot of work to be done if we are to speed up diagnosis and contain the spread of these infections.”

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CHAI launched the appeal to fund research aimed at reducing the number of hospital infections by; developing rapid, economical diagnostic tests for MRSA and C.diff in NHS hospitals; and using new technology to track the evolution of superbugs that cause more serious infections.

There is currently no national charity dedicated to funding research into these killer infections.  The patient support organisation, the National Concern for Healthcare Infections, wants to see more funding for research at every level to ensure the safety not only of loved ones but of the public as a whole.  

Professor Richard James, Director of the Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections (CHAI) at The University of Nottingham, says new strains of community based MRSA — community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococus aureus (CA-MRSA) — are causing infections in UK hospitals and circulating in the community. 

Professor James said: “With Leslie’s help we hope to reach our target of £1.4m — then we can really start making a difference to people’s lives. Some progress is already being made but C.diff, for example, is proving very difficult to control. The culture based diagnosis for MRSA takes three days, we want doctors to have access to economical tests that give an answer in one hour. CA-MRSA is an emerging and very serious threat. There are large numbers of these infections in the US and many other countries and the number is going up here.”

The Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections (CHAI) brings together researchers from 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


Leslie Ash’s appeal film can be found on The University of Nottingham’s podcast site — http://bit.ly/2CoCqh 

And YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8o9-J1GWf4

Donations to the campaign can be made by contacting Steve Vesse in The University of Nottingham’s Development Office on 0115 951 3274 or by e-mail at steve.vesse@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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