MRF visit to the Institute of Child Health, London

MRF visit to the Institute of Child Health, London Date: 27 November 2012 - 27 November 2012
Location: Institute of Child Health, London

This visit saw the opportunity for us to see how continued funding into MenB vaccine research is really important, especially in light of the recent announcement about licensure of a new MenB vaccine.

MRF members Mette, Richard, Judi, Helen, Isabel and Julie were joined by MRF staff in central London to visit the Institute of Child Health (ICH) next to Great Ormond St Hospital. 

Dr Garth Dixon and his team at ICH are being funded by MRF to look at alternative methods of producing a MenB vaccine and Garth spent some time explaining why MenB is so difficult to vaccinate against. He then went through how the current MRF research is trying to find a way around these issues. It was really great to hear that they are getting some good results from their initial studies, and that their approach could lead to further MenB vaccines entering later stages of development in the future.

Deadly bacteria prevented us going inside, but the measures taken to keep researchers safe were clearly explained.

We were also shown around the labs where the work is going on and saw some of the laboratory techniques that are used. Prof Nigel Klein, along with two PhD students, Alastair and Phil, were on hand to explain how they investigate meningococcal bacteria and the way they interact with our bodies. Lots of questions were asked and Members had a great opportunity to find out what MenB vaccine research is all about.

Julie Tucker, whose brother-in-law Marcel died in 2009, and who is now an MRF Ambassador for London said:

“Yesterday was an extraordinary experience and one which has given me a much greater appreciation of the complexity of the meningitis problem and also an added insight into how very important and invaluable the work of MRF is. I feel much better armed now to answer questions which as an Ambassador I am so often presented.”

Dr Garth Dixon, who is leading the research at ICH said:

“It was very moving hearing the personal stories people had, which really does put the work we all do here into perspective.”

You can read more about the research being funded by MRF here and more about the latest MenB vaccine announcement here.