During the three years of his Acadmeic Clinical Fellowship Dr McWilliam completed a clinical study measuring urinary biomarkers of kidney injury in preterm infants, particularly in relation to treatment with gentamicin, an aminoglycoside antibiotic. This provided the preliminary data which supported his successful application for a North West England MRC Fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Dr McWilliam's PhD, entitled ‘Novel approaches to aminoglycoside-induced nephrotoxicity in children’ focused on developing urinary biomarkers for the identification of aminoglycoside-induced kidney toxicity, and demonstrating the potential of statins to prevent this toxicity. His PhD research has led to a national, multicentre phase IIa clinical trial, investigating the potential of rosuvastatin to prevent aminoglycoside-induced kidney toxicity in children with cystic fibrosis (the PROteKT study). This is important as around one third of adults with cystic fibrosis may develop kidney impairment as a result of exposure to aminoglycosides.
This clinical trial provides the main focus of Dr McWilliam's work as an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer, and it is hoped that this may lead on to a larger phase III clinical trial. In addition to this Dr McWilliam will pursue his interest in drug toxicity in children in collaboration with other researchers at the University of Liverpool, and internationally. Dr McWilliam will also complete his training as a Paediatric Clinical Pharmacologist.