A major challenge faced when setting up Conor's Fund was to find a research team in the UK working on Strep A infections to support! Though the situation has improved somewhat since, this still remains an under represented area of medical research.
The main research group initially identified, at the Public Health Labs, couldn't take public donations. However, we were finally referred by the team in the US who decoded the Strep A genome, to a small group based at Friariage Hospital, North Allerton, led by Dr Mike Barnham. He was kind enough to step into the breach and set up a sub-fund in Conor's name within his NHS Trust's charity fund.
At the time, Dr Barnham was performing a critical role in trying to highlight the importance of Strep A infections to the medical community at large, in the hope of increasing research activity in this area.
Conor's Fund was able to contribute to this process in a small way, whilst building funds to a level whereby a specific research project could be commissioned in the areas of prevention, diagnosis or cure.
Conor's Fund is eternally grateful to Dr Barnham & his colleagues for helping us to set up and run the fund in the early years, at a time when we were not ready to take on such a task by ourselves.
It soon became apparent that it was going to take some time to raise the funds needed to start a research initiative from scratch, so the search began to find an established, active research group that could use the level of support provided by Conor's Fund to drive their research forward.
This led us to the Gram Positive Pathogenesis Group research group, based at Hammersmith Hospital / Imperial College. Led by Prof. Sriskandan. This group is actively researching topics in all the areas relevent to Conor's Fund - namely the Prevention, Diagnosis and Cure of invasive Strep infections.
Their research work is augnented by the clinical experience they have of treating Strep A infections at first-hand, forming a powerful combination that has already generated some significant breakthroughs, as detailed in the panel on this page.
Prof. Sriskandan was instrumental in creating the first ever UK Conference on Strep A Research in October 2019, where research groups working in this field could meet to share their work and discoveries.
Conor's Fund is proud to be able to help support the GPPG as they continue their work to combat this terrible infection.
Read more about the Gram Positive Pathogenesis Group.