£15k to help fund liver failure research

Monday, 28 April 2014

Freemasons support novel infection prevention research for patients with liver failure

With more than 50% of patients suffering from liver failure dying prematurely from typically non-life-threatening infections, The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has donated £15,000 to support vital medical research that is aiming to dramatically reduce this terrible statistic.

Dr Antoniades has been appointed by the Medical Research Council (MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship) to understand why patients with liver failure fail to develop an inadequate immune response to infections that can then lead to fatal sepsis. The aim is to develop novel treatments that will reduce the burden of infection and premature death in patients with liver disease.

Based between Imperial College London and the Liver Intensive Care Unit, King’s College London, Dr Antoniades’s team have already discovered that by inhibiting the activity of a protein found in saliva called SLPI (secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor) in liver failure patients, their natural immune response is able to function as it would in a healthy person.

Dr Antoniades said: 'Our findings indicate that SLPI is a critical mediator of excessive anti-inflammatory responses in liver failure patients which explains their susceptibility to sepsis/infection. Further study of therapeutic options to inhibit the activity of SLPI in the management of sepsis in liver failure is urgently needed.'

The Major Grants Scheme is just one of the initiatives driven by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity which donates around £2.5 million to national charities every year. This particular research project has also been supported by Rosetrees Trust, major funders of life-changing medical research projects.

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