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Retired nurse joins research trial after “debilitating” urinary infections

Press release date 09/02/2023

A woman from Glenfield has joined a clinical trial of the first vaccine developed to prevent common infections, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), caused by the bacteria E. coli. Urinary tract infections are infections of the bladder and kidneys. The trial is being run by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Patient Recruitment Centre (PRC): Leicester, based at Leicester General Hospital.


Research participant Nicky who has joined the EMBRACE trial
Research participant Nicky who has joined the EMBRACE trial

Nicky (60) decided to join the trial after reading about it on social media. She explains: “I have a history of UTIs, which in the past has impacted my day to day life. Working as a nurse, I would often get to the end of a long shift and realise I hadn’t had time for a drink or to go to the toilet and this would then increase the risk of developing a water infection. Anyone who has experienced a UTI knows how painful they can be. I want to help find a treatment that could provide protection or reduce risk for the future.” 

Infections caused by E. coli can spread through the blood to other locations in the body, which can be life-threatening and lead to hospitalisation. Although these infections affect all ages, adults aged 60 years and older have an increased risk. This risk increases further in older people who have had a UTI in the past. 

Nicky adds: “I have seen first-hand whilst looking after patients as well as my parents how unwell UTIs can make you as you get older.  If not treated promptly they can develop in to a form of sepsis, which can be life-threatening.” 

Martin Wiselka, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Leicester’s Hospitals and Principal Investigator for the trial, said: “If we can find an effective vaccine that prevents recurrent UTIs, or helps the body respond quickly to bacteria that cause UTIs, we could prevent many people from becoming very unwell and reduce hospital admissions, particularly in the older population. 

“I’m really grateful to the people who have joined this trial so far. If, like Nicky, you have suffered from UTIs, please consider finding out more about this important research by getting in touch with our team.” 

To join the study, participants will be aged 60 years or over, and have a history of UTI in the past two years that required antibiotics to treat it. Please contact the study team by emailing embrace@uhl-tr.nhs.uk or calling 0116 258 8689 for further information. 

The NIHR PRC: Leicester is one of five PRCs in England, dedicated to setting up and delivering late phase commercial clinical trials in the NHS at pace and scale. PRC: Leicester is hosted by the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and based at Leicester General Hospital. To find out more about the Patient Recruitment Centre: Leicester, visit our website: https://local.nihr.ac.uk/prc/leicester/ 

For those interested in health research at Leicester’s Hospitals and who want to hear about opportunities to take part, sign up to Leicester’s Research Registry to receive regular email updates. Visit the website to join: www.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk/researchregistry


For media enquiries and interview requests, please contact:

Rosalind Moore, Communications and Engagement Manager

Rosalind.Moore@uhl-tr.nhs.uk or 07929 862697 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

Rachael Dowling, Head of Research Communications

Rachael.dowling@uhl-tr.nhs.uk or 07950 891193 (Monday/Friday)


Official press release no. 1013