BCARE has a record of research and development in the field of antimicrobial chemotherapy and resistance going back more than 35 years. These research activities inter-relate, support and augment several other activities such as running the UK National External Quality Assurance Scheme (UK NEQAS) for antibiotic assays and the provision of specialist antimicrobial assays for health providers in the UK.
Southmead and Frenchay Hospitals, situated in North Bristol, is the largest NHS trust in the South West of England with over 1000 beds and is a University of Bristol teaching trust which is one of two medical schools in the South West.
The Antimicrobial Reference Laboratory provides a comprehensive assay service for the purposes of therapeutic monitoring for a wide range of antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral agents using both liquid chromatography and LC/MS methodology. This is the only such service provided in the UK and includes the provision of consultative advice on technical aspect of TDM and the clinical interpretation of assay results. The service has been provided since the mid 1980s and year-on-year there have been increases in both the number of laboratories using the service and the total number of samples assayed, with currently over 240 laboratories using the service each year. The full range of analytes assayed and some of the conditions under which they may need to be assayed are detailed in the assay book which is circulated annually.
The Antimicrobial Reference Laboratory also offers a comprehensive bacteriology service for both routine diagnostic and research purposes. These services include undertaking specialist susceptibility testing, such as minimum inhibitory and bactericidal concentrations, population analysis profiles for hVISA, serum cidal assays and bacterial kill curves. This is backed up with an expanding molecular diagnostics service which is able to undertake molecular detection of a range of pathogenicity and antimicrobial resistance genes, along with typing of organisms in epidemiological studies.