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Biological Sciences

Research project: Using phages to give new life to old antibiotics against superbugs

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Human health can change dramatically due to the emergence of untreatable, antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. If no solutions are found soon, even trivial bacterial infections and routine medical surgery may become life-threatening.

Here we propose a unique strategy to re-activate antibiotics to clear bacterial infections. By exploiting the unique ability of bacteriophages (viruses attacking bacteria) to attach to bacterial cells via specific structures in the cell’s surface, the bacterial cell can be triggered to mutate those structures. When these structures are involved in antibiotic resistance by extruding the antibiotic out of the cell, their mutation will result in increased antibiotic susceptibility. This synergetic approach may represent a broadly applicable, cost-effective, and safe treatment against many kinds of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, giving new life to old antibiotics.

Principle Investigator

Franklin Nobrega

Funding Provider

Wessex Medical Research

Funding dates

October 2021 – September 2023

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