Fundraising for research

28th March 2019

Our Meningitis Now supporters are an amazing bunch – raising millions of pounds for us every year through events, individual giving, corporate sponsorship and many other methods of donation

Liverpool University research visit blog

But have you ever wondered where all that money goes? 

You probably know that some of it is spent on supporting people living with the impact of meningitis, or on helping us to raise awareness about the disease. 

What may be less appreciated is the money we put into funding research.

To help make the connection between donations and this funding, our Partnerships Team Manager Sarah Ramsay took a group of supporters along on a visit to the University of Liverpool - where we are currently funding research into improving vaccines for pneumococcal meningitis.

Led by researchers Professor Aras Kadioglu, Dr Marie Yang and Dr Dean Everett, the current project is the second one we have funded at the university after Part One ended in 2015. This one is due to run for a total of three years and will end in September. 

According to Sarah, the group learned that the project is looking at ways to develop improved vaccines to provide broader protection against pneumococcal infection – including how to use “boosting agents” in vaccines to stimulate the immune system.

This followed the first project at the university, which established that bacteria can travel directly to the central nervous system from the back of the nose and throat and not just via the blood stream as was previously thought. 

Assisting in the fight

All these findings are really assisting in the fight to help discover new or improved vaccines against pneumococcal meningitis, said Sarah.

“I was really reassured about all the brilliant work that is happening out there to help fight meningitis and other diseases,” she said. 

“I think our supporters got a lot out of the visit, particularly knowing that the money they have donated to Meningitis Now is being well spent”.

Our Research Co-ordinator, Jane Blewitt, said that there were many benefits of the research being done at the University of Liverpool, not least the range of expertise researchers at the institution were able to utilise. 

“They collaborate with many other universities, including Oxford, Toulouse, Trinity College in Dublin, and Glasgow”, she said. 

“This gives the researchers a vast amount of really brilliant additional expertise to draw on”. 

It is hoped that when this stage of the research ends, the work will move on to more substantial trials – with the aim that eventually all the findings will help contribute to a new vaccine against pneumococcal meningitis. 

Helping us to beat meningitis

It can be hard to see the bigger picture when you run your race, ride your bike, climb that mountain or even just throw a few pennies in a collecting tin. But be assured that it’s all helping us to beat meningitis. 

Meningitis Now will be awarding new research grants later this year and would like to invite anyone who would like to help fund this research to get in touch. For more information please contact Sarah at sarahr@meningitisnow.org.

Read more about our pneumococcal vaccine research project here.