UC Irvine Health-led MRSA study earns Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement for 2013

April 10, 2014
UC Irvine Health Dr. Susan Huang

A study on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals led by UC Irvine Health infectious disease expert Dr. Susan Huang earned a "Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement Award" for 2013 from the Clinical Research Forum.

Huang, medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention for UC Irvine Health, is an associate professor of medicine. Winning projects represent the outstanding examples of research projects that benefit the health and well being of the general public.

The study showed that using germ-killing soap and ointment in hospitals on all intensive-care unit patients can reduce bloodstream infections by up to 44 percent and significantly reduce the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Patients who have MRSA present on their bodies are at increased risk of developing a MRSA infection and can spread the germ to other patients.

In the study, which was designed to test three MRSA prevention strategies, researchers found that treating all ICU patients with germ-killing soap and ointment was more effective than strategies that relied on screening patients for MRSA first, then applying prevention strategies only to those who carry the germ. This approach was also effective for preventing infections caused by germs other than MRSA. Study results appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Clinical research culminates years of basic and translational science to bring new treatments to patients, and I’m always excited to see the groundbreaking clinical research recognized every year by the Clinical Research Forum,” said National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. “This is just the tip of the iceberg of the incredible work coming out in the field, much of it funded by the NIH.”

The winning researchers represent institutions from across the country, including UC Irvine, Cornell University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Ohio State University, UCLA, the University of Florida and the University of Pennsylvania. Their projects also address a wide variety of scientific and medical issues, including treatments for lymphoma, homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia, hepatitis C and kidney disease. Other winning projects focused on finding less invasive ways to gauge the success of kidney transplants, on locating optimal dosing strategies for anticoagulation control, on developing screening protocols for lung cancer, and on better understanding the relative risk of end-stage kidney disease in patients of different races.

The researchers accepted their awards and presented their research April 10 at a reception in Washington, D.C.

The Clinical Research Forum was formed in 1996 to discuss the unique and complex challenges to clinical research in academic health centers. Over the past decade, it has convened leaders in clinical research annually and has provided a forum for discussing common issues and interests in the full spectrum of translational research. For more: http://www.clinicalresearchforum.org.

Contact: Tom Vasich at 949-824-6455 or tmvasich@uci.edu.

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