Clinical pharmacy research activities focus on improving patient outcomes through improvements in medicine use. The research is multidisciplinary and translational, with positive research findings being incorporated into patient care delivery, in both inpatient and outpatient settings. The research, as appropriate, is underpinned by laboratory work (run to GCP standards) in quantitative drug analysis and microbiology.
The programme of work falls into two main categories (i) Clinical outcomes research covering all main patient groups, i.e. clinical pharmacy led pharmaceutical care/integrated medicines management and new approaches to combat antimicrobial resistance (McElnay), and (ii) patient group specific research, with the two main groups of patients studied being patients with respiratory disease (Tunney) and paediatric patients, including neonates (McElnay and Hawwa).
The paediatric research focuses on pharmacokinetics, excipient toxicokinetics, pharmacogenomics and medication adherence, underpinned by novel approaches to the quantification of drugs and metabolites in low volume samples (including dried blood spot analysis). Key external collaborators include the National University of Singapore and leading paediatric/neonatal care centres (London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leicester, Paris, Leuven and Tartu).
The CF & Airways Microbiology programme (Tunney) focuses on the detection and treatment of polymicrobial infection in patients with respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF), non-CF bronchiectasis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The main theme involves examination of how bacteria contribute to the pathophysiology of infection and inflammation in these conditions and the molecular basis of antibiotic resistance amongst these bacteria. Funding for this research has been received from the NI R&D Office, MRC, national charities and the pharmaceutical industry.
Medicines management and antimicrobial resistance research has led to the remodelling of clinical pharmacy services both locally and internationally. Research into polymicrobial infection in CF is ground-breaking and challenges the accepted paradigm of chronic airway infection in this condition. Ongoing studies in this area will examine whether changes in antibiotic treatment to target polymicrobial infection result in improved clinical outcomes for patients. The paediatric research programme is making a significant contribution to the international drive to ensure efficacy and safety of medicine use in neonates and children, in particular the use of dried blood spot analysis in PK, pharmacogenomics and adherence research.
Watch more about the research by our group on this video.