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Antibiotic Research UK launches its first research programme to tackle superbugs with Antibiotic Resistance Breakers

Research will use drug repurposing to test whether existing therapies for the treatment of any medical condition can extend the life of existing antibiotics.

To meet the challenge of the rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria (superbugs), national charity ‘Antibiotic Research UK (ANTRUK) is commissioning the first ever research programme to screen antibiotic resistance breakers against antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. ANTRUK is asking scientific organisations and universities to submit tenders for this testing to see if therapies already in use and being safely administered in humans can be co-administered with antibiotics. This is the first of five projects to be carried out in the next 5 to 7 years, with the ultimate objective of developing new antibiotic therapies for use by the early 2020′s to overcome superbugs.

ANTRUK has ambitious goals to reverse the decline in antibiotic drug development particularly given the lack of appetite among ‘big pharma’ to find new therapies. This is critical as the WHO believes antibiotic resistance threatens a global situation as serious as the AIDs epidemic; this has been supported by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies and the Prime Minister.

In the first of its five projects – identified by ANTRUK’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, on which some of the UK’s foremost experts in antibiotic resistance sit – up to 1500 drugs in use today for any therapeutic purpose, for example cancer treatment, heart disease and arthritis, will be tested to find out if any can reverse antibiotic resistance. The target antibiotic resistance bacteria to be examined in the screen are the so-called Gram-negative type. These species are responsible for urinary tract, skin and blood infections as well as pneumonia.

ANTRUK has raised funds to finance its first scientific programme from Trusts and Foundations, major donors and the general public. Professor Colin Garner, the Charity’s Chief Executive said “We are delighted to have raised sufficient funds 20 months from formation to commence our research. Our Antibiotic Resistance Breaker programme could potentially find new ways of extending the life of our existing antibiotics at a fraction of the cost and time compared to conventional drug development”.

Dr David Brown an ex-senior research executive who has worked for Pfizer, Roche and AstraZeneca and, Chair of the Charity’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee said “Our Committee has been developing this programme for the past 12 months. I believe it offers the possibility of finding new antibiotic therapies to meet our goal of bringing one into clinic by the early 2020′s. The Charity is delighted to be starting real research now”.

The deadline for final applications is 17:00, 31st March 2016. Electronic applications should be sent to [email protected]

For more information and for details on informal enquiries please visit: http://www.antibioticresearch.org.uk/research-calls-apply-now-closing-date-31-march-2016/