Clinical Research Office. A partnership between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Sheffield
Academic Directorate of Communicable
Diseases and Specialised Medicine

 

The Academic Directorate of Communicable Diseases and Specialised Medicine comprises of five specialities:

  • Haematology
  • Dermatology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Sexual Health

 

The Academic Directorate of Communicable Disease & Specialised Medicine Research Strategy 2018-2021 is available on request - getinvolved@sth.nhs.uk

Key Contacts

Name

 Role                       

Dr Andy Chantry Research Lead - Haemotology 
Dr Karen Rogstad  
Research Lead – Sexual Health and GUM     
Sarah Birch
Directorate Research Coordinator
Dr Paul Collini Research Lead - Infectious Diseases
Dr Josh Wright Clinical Director
Dr Ravishankar Sargur Research Lead - Immunology
Prof Mike Cork Research Lead - Dermatology
Aimee Card
CRIO Research Coordinator
Louise Marsh
Research Administrator

 

Communicable Diseases

The Communicable Diseases team focuses on the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases through behavioural modification, vaccination and preventive treatment. Since all sectors of society are at risk of infections these approaches impact the lives of all society. Moreover since many of the problems we tackle, such as HIV, hepatitis, influenza, enteric fever and pneumonia have global reach our research is relevant not just in the UK.

We work closely with the University of Sheffield and The Florey Institute on alternative approaches to combatting common infections such as pneumonia and staphylococcal disease, infections also complicated by antimicrobial resistance. Therefore members of our team are addressing key ways to combat antimicrobial resistance, one of the most significant health challenges of our time, through the identification of alternative bacterial targets, host-based therapy and vaccination. On a more immediate level our current research is making available to our patients the newest and most promising treatments and vaccinations. Examples include the ability to administer new antivirals for HIV and hepatitis C, agents to prevent HIV transmission such as PreP and treatments that prevent the recurrence of Clostridium difficile infection, a leading cause of hospital acquired infection. Our vaccination works includes studies of hepatitis B and yellow fever vaccines in immunocompromised patients, exploring the role of innate immune responses to vaccination and phase 3 study of a new dengue vaccine. We ensure that we constantly modify our clinical practice in light of both our and others' research so that our patients can benefit from excellent clinical care. Examples of this translational work include research into optimising long-term lung health in our HIV cohort and the delivery of out-patient antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) to ensure effective therapy in forms that are more acceptable to our patients. We are also involved in social sciences research looking at alcohol pricing policies. Our research gives opportunities for academic partnerships though collaboration and training of scientists while the links to industry help develop the partnerships that are needed to provide new therapeutic approaches that can reach the clinic. Moreover the industry collaboration has the potential to add value to the national economy.

A competitive research environment helps us attract and train high quality specialists in infection and ensure delivery of a high quality clinical service; the directorate has four senior clinical academics and the majority of NHS communicable diseases consultants are principal investigators on studies. Our researchers to make important contributions to national guidelines setting out the best form of treatment of a range of infectious diseases, including those related to HIV, sexually transmitted infection and lung disease. We also make a significant contribution to training through supporting two NIHR ACLs and three NIHR ACFs, fellowships and research attachments for medically qualified and allied health professionals. We have a significant challenge this year associated with tendering out of sexual health services and splitting of the service into 2 separate contracts. We will be drawing up contingency plans on how to maintain current research, that in the pipe-line and future research in the event that STH are unsuccessful in winning the level 3 service bid and developed pathways for research with the Level 2 Bid winners.

Specialised Medicine

The diverse specialties encompassed in the specialised medicine team address some of the most common disorders presenting to healthcare professionals within the NHS, ranging from musculoskeletal diseases to dermatological, immune and haematological disorders including cancer. Together, these disorders impact on many lives within our local community and society at large, both nationally and internationally. In such a diverse directorate, it is hard to capture all of the impact for patients and public but several examples are given below.
Research in Haematology continues to maintain a high public profile and is influential at both a clinical and academic level. Prof John Snowden is one of only 41 UK-wide clinicians appointed by NHS England to help drive reform of specialised services. He will chair the Blood & Marrow Transplantation group on the national Blood and Infection care programme and use his expert knowledge to help NHS England develop new treatments, services and standards to ensure best value is achieved within the resources available. The Blood and Infection programme is one of six national programmes of care, each supported by Clinical Reference Groups focusing on specific clinical specialties. Prof. John Snowden have been involved in studies exploring the efficacy in the treatment of new treatment modalities in MS, other neurological conditions, IBD and autoimmune diseases. Dr Andy Chantry leads the Sheffield Myeloma Research Team (SMART) pioneering world leading research in therapies for myeloma bone disease and strategies to eliminate minimal residual disease and prevent relapse including a novel anti myeloma onclytic virus strategy. Prof. Makris is involved in ground breaking gene therapy trials looking at potentially curative treatment for haemophilia B. In Dermatology, Prof. Cork has been in the vanguard of several recent breakthroughs in the management of atopic eczema, psoriasis and vitiligo, advances that have been enabled locally by close interactions with the CRF.

 

Together the communicable diseases and specialised medicine teams, as one academic directorate, are dedicated to increasing both the quantity and quality of research activity across the directorate, learning from the challenges and best practices of each area and forging links with industry and charitable sector to provide opportunities for patients, who are at the forefront of the research activity we engage in.