Trinity College Leads New Medical Research Project Combating Poverty-Related Diseases in Children

Posted on: 15 November 2006

A new international multi-disciplinary medical research project, CONTENT, which is to tackle poverty related diseases in children and which is headed up by Trinity College’s Head of the School of Medicine, Professor Dermot Kelleher, has been granted an EU grant of €2.5 million. CONTENT which is being coordinated by Trinity College and the University of Leeds includes five Latin American countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru –
among its partners.

The four year project will investigate the effects of gut infections on growth and development in young children. Diarrhoea caused by gut infections is a world-wide problem causing about 12, 500 deaths a day in children less than five years old¹. The knowledge acquired by the CONTENT consortium will help develop new prevention methods and diagnostic tools for gut infections.

The CONTENT consortium will collaborate with public health organisations throughout Latin America to spread information arising from the project and to raise awareness and education on childhood gut infections and diarrhoeal diseases.

Commenting on the significance of the project, Professor Kelleher said: “This multi-disciplinary and multi-country approach to tackling poverty-related diseases in children highlights TCD’s commitment to the development of research in global health.” Professor Kelleher is both the coordinator and the principal investigator of the project and he is joined by TCD Lecturer in Molecular Medicine, Dr Henry Windle.

Notes to the editor
1.One of the first infections acquired in infancy is the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori. This infection, which is generally life-long, is a risk factor for developing gastric cancer in adults. Initial infection with H. pylori reduces the amount of acid in the stomach. Acid secretion in the stomach is an important defence mechanism against multiple gut infections which cause diarrhoeal diseases.