The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded the first year of funding from a four-year, $1.3 million grant to the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) to aid in the research and development of a vaccine to protect patients from the healthcare-related infections, Candida and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the NIH awarded the grant to LA BioMed infectious disease specialists John E. Edwards, MD, and Ashraf S. Ibrahim, PhD, to fund the collection and study of samples of patients already enrolled in an ongoing clinical trial to assess the efficacy of the vaccine to protect them from Candida. The researchers will use the samples for a study seeking to determine how the vaccine is working.

“The development of a vaccine to protect people from these ¬†will be a major step forward in improving the health of people here in the U.S. and around the globe,” said David I. Meyer, PhD, LA BioMed president and CEO. “LA BioMed’s infectious disease specialists are creating a new generation of vaccines to combat these infections. Securing federal funding for such important studies is critical to advancing innovations and developing the medical breakthroughs needed to protect patient health.”

Candida is the fourth leading cause of bloodstream infections among hospital patients in the U.S. It is a fungus that commonly lives on the skin, in mucous membranes, like the nose, and in the intestine. When a person’s immune system is compromised, Candida can reproduce too quickly, or it can be introduced into a patient’s body through a medical device, such as a main line, and cause a bloodstream infection.

MRSA is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that has become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections. MRSA infections are more likely to occur in hospitals and other healthcare settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers.