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MRC CiC Award - Dr Shu Li

Medical Research Council Confidence in Concept Grant awarded to the Pharmaceutical Engineering Group at CQC and QUB School of Pharmacy

The Pharmaceutical Engineering Group at CQC and School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University Belfast, has been awarded a £60,000 Confidence in Concept (CiC) Grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to develop novel antimicrobial-eluting surgical sutures as a potential strategy to tackle sugical site infections. CQC’s Dr Shu Li is the Principal Investigator for the project.

Surgical site infections (SSIs) cause severe problems and remain a major cause of postoperative mortality, particularly at incision sites that are considered ‘dirty-contaminated’ according to the CDC Surgical Wound Classification (SWC Class IV). The incidence of SSIs at Class IV wound sites has been reported to be over 27% in general and can be as high as 40% in extreme cases such as in abdominal laparotomy and intestinal procedures, particularly colostomies.

Occurrence of SSIs may result in repeat surgeries, use of systemic antibiotics and, prolonged hospital stays with approximate additional increased healthcare costs of up to $60,000 per patient.

The ‘Burden of Wounds’ study also reported that the annual NHS cost attributable to wound care in 2012/2013 was approximately £982.9 million. An average NHS cost of £7300 per wound over a 12-month period has been estimated for wound care management, with a doubling of costing to manage a wound that remains unhealed.

Shu says: “successful delivery of the project has the potential to offer considerable cost-savings to the National Health Service. It will also bring alternative thinking for both formulation and manufacturing to the current functional medical devices market”.

This new award adds to the university’s current diverse portfolio of preliminary translational research.