Thursday 18 December 2014

Timeline report for superbug research

A new report which sets out the foundation for future research into anti-microbial resistance (AMR) has been published by the Medical Research Council (MRC). The report tells the story of key research achievements over the past thirty years, showcasing some of the best advances and providing the groundwork for a cross-Council collaboration on AMR research.

Antimicrobial resistance is a huge and complex problem for healthcare and agriculture. Antibiotics have been used to treat bacterial infections in humans and animals for 70 years, but these medicines are becoming less and less effective. No new classes of antibiotics have been discovered for 25 years and some strains of bacteria are now unharmed by the drugs designed to kill them.

In the UK alone £275 million has been spent on research in this area since 2007, yet, to date, no effective solutions have been found. It has been estimated that current antibiotics may be useless within the next two decades.

The UK Research Councils have joined together in an historic initiative to tackle this global problem. Coordinating a network of medical researchers, biologists, engineers, vets, economists, mathematicians and designers, the MRC will help to drive through new discoveries and advancements.

The AMR initiative, which has been heralded as a war cabinet for AMR research, pulls together all seven research councils and looks to deliver exciting new research projects on four fronts:
  • Understanding resistant bacteria in the context of the host.
  • Accelerating therapeutic and diagnostics development.
  • Understanding the real world interactions.
  • Behaviour within and beyond the health care setting.
  • The report published today offers a timeline and case studies in each area supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC). From how American Bullfrogs might help to treat wounds infected with MRSA, to how a smartphone app helps healthcare professionals choose the best course of treatment to ensure antimicrobials are prescribed appropriately, the report provides a shop window on AMR research.
Dr Des Walsh, Head of Infections & Immunity at the Medical Research Council (MRC) said: “Years of research mean that we are now in a better position than ever to get to the bottom of how and why some bugs are resistant to antibiotics. But we need to understand AMR at every level and in every environment – from labs to livestock, from finding new diagnostic tools to educating professionals and the public, which is why the MRC is leading the Funders’ Forum and working with all of the research councils providing millions in support to the best research projects designed to beat this problem.”

For further details, see MRC

Posted by Tim Sandle

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