Fungal Research Trust
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About Us

Tom Harrison  MA MB BS MPH MD FRCP

My initial research training was in the laboratory of Professor Stuart Levitz in Boston, where I worked on immune responses to Cryptococcus neoformans, a common cause of meningitis in immunocompromised patients, especially those infected with HIV. My clinical research training was through the programmes in Clinical Effectiveness and International Health at Harvard Medical School. On returning to the UK, clinical trial work was developed first in Thailand, and subsequently in Africa. In the first study of its kind, by measuring the rate of clearance of infection from the cerebrospinal fluid, the fungicidal activities of different drug treatments for cryptococcal meningitis were directly compared. The technique was shown to be much more powerful than prior markers of response, opening the way for more rapid assessment of novel treatments. Follow up trials have been completed in Cape Town, Uganda and Malawi; and a large phase III trial recently funded by the UK Medical Research Council. Associated laboratory projects are examining the effects of other pathogen and host factors on the outcome of infection. The feasibility of preventing of cryptococcal meningitis through screening for sub-clinical infection and pre-emptive therapy has been demonstrated, and a novel point-of-care test for immunodiagnosis developed with collaborators to aid screening. With colleagues in the InterTB Group at St George’s Hospital, phase II and III trials of chemotherapy for tuberculosis are under way, and novel methods for rapid and reliable testing for drug sensitivity of tuberculosis isolates are being developed.

  • Infectious Diseases Society of America Division Fellowship in Medical Mycology.
  • Massachusetts Infectious Diseases Society Young Investigator Award.
  • NIH/Fogarty HIV, Aids and Related Illnesses Collaboration Award.
  • Advanced Training Fellowship. The Wellcome Trust.
  • MRC College of Experts. Advisor to the Health Services and Public Health Research Board.
  • Southern African HIV Clinicians Society, expert panel member cryptococcal guidelines
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America expert panel member cryptococcal guidelines
  • WHO expert panel member cryptococcal guidelines

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